On-line resources that reference places are multiplying rapidly, bringing enormous potential to the researcher; but users currently have no easy way of finding them, navigating between them or comparing their contents. Pelagios, a growing international cooperative of online ancient world projects, addresses the issue of discovery and reuse with the aim of enabling digital humanists to make their data more discoverable and empowering real-world users (scholars, students, the general public) to find out about places and visualize the information in meaningful ways. The Pelagios family purposefully includes partners maintaining a wide range of different document types including texts, maps and databases in building towards a Geospatial Semantic Web for the Humanities.
Pelagios Phase 1 developed a common way of referring to ancient places in online material by establishing a lightweight framework of principles, based on the concept of place (a Pleiades URI) and a standard ontology (Open Annotation Collaboration). The results were aggregated in the Pelagios Graph Explorer, which supports a number of common types of query (“which places are referenced in these datasets?”, “what is the geographical footprint of these datasets?”, “which datasets reference a particular place”) that help users find out about either the places or the documents that refer to them. Phase 2 distils the principles into this “digital cookbook”, which can be used by anyone producing material about the ancient world so that their data will be more discoverable and usable—in short, you won’t need to be a Pelagios partner to be able to join-in in making your data discoverable and usable. It is also developing an API and web widgets that can be embedded in partner websites, which can allow users to link to all different kinds of data related to a particular ancient place or document.
Pelagios is co-ordinated by: Elton Barker (The Open University), Leif Isaksen (The University of Southampton), Rainer Simon (The Austrian Institute of Technology). For more information, please:
Pelagios has been funded by JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee) as part of the Geospatial and Community Outreach programme (15/10) and the Resource and Discovery programme (13/11)
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