[Humanist] 24.696 ancient geodata interlinked

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Feb 7 07:14:23 CET 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 696.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2011 07:20:21 -0800 (PST)
        From: Laval Hunsucker <amoinsde at yahoo.com>
        Subject: Linked ancient geodata
        In-Reply-To: <20110206083516.5B91AE6CBC at woodward.joyent.us>

This press release which I just ran across from the University
of Southampton, School of Electronics and Computer Science,
issued two days ago, Friday 4 February, and located at
may be of interest to some of you here on this list, I'd think : 

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Pelagios: Mapping the culture of Antiquity online

A project which will make it easier to discover and map online information about 
ancient places begins this month.

Leif Isaksen, a member of the ECS Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia  research 
group, who is about to commence a Research Fellowship with the  Archaeological 
Computing Research Group, University of Southampton, is  leading a global 
consortium, together with Elton Barker of The Open  University, to develop a 
method of integrating data from existing  ancient world resources.

He is Co-Investigator on the JISC-funded Pelagios (PELAGIOS: Enable  Linked 
Ancient Geodata In Open Systems) Project which aims to create a  common format 
for referencing ancient locations in online resources over  the next nine 

"The inspiration for this project came largely from our on-going Google  Ancient 
Places (GAP) project which aims to identify classical locations  in Google Books 
and other digital libraries," said Mr Isaksen. "Pelagios  will take this a step 
further by creating a generalised and  machine-readable format for referring to 
ancient places in any Web  document whether it’s a text, map or even database."

The project partners are using the Pleiades online gazetteer of over  30,000 
ancient locations and will use Linked Open Data principles to  connect textual, 
visual and tabular documents that reference the Ancient  World. They will also 
develop mapping and discovery tools to make it  easy for researchers, developers 
and the general public to make use of  the data.

"Although we are developing this standardized method for Antiquity, once  it 
exists, it can also be used just as easily for references to modern  place names 
as well," said Mr. Isaksen.

David Flanders, programme manager at JISC, said: "The Pelagios Project  offers 
the exciting potential to make historical texts more real to  students and 
researchers than ever before: imagine being able generate  maps of the stories 
by Herodotus or even know if the journeys spoken  about by Euripides and 
Sophocles were similar in nature. By adding  geospatial data to these classical 
texts new insights will be added,  making data otherwise hidden in the texts 
explicit and real at a new  level of understanding."

The consortium is keen to involve digital librarians and other online  resource 
curators involved in Ancient World research and will host a  workshop in March 
to brief them further. The project will also host an  ongoing blog at: 

Consortium project partners are:

Archaeological Computing Research Group (ACRG), University of Southampton

Faculty of Arts & LUCERO, The Open University

Pleiades, New York University

Perseus, Tufts University

Arachne, University of Cologne

Supporting Productive Queries for Research (SPQR),

King’s College, London

Digital Memory Engineering (DME), Austrian Institute of


Image: The Madaba Map (6th C. D) gives an indication of the importance  of 
placenames in ancient cartography. (image source: Wikipedia. (c) Jean  Housen).

Posted by Joyce Lewis on 04 Feb 2011.
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- Laval Hunsucker
  Breukelen, Nederland

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