Monday, August 19, 2013

Integrating Pleiades/Pelagios into Archaeological Archives

EADitor has for quite some time incorporated Geonames lookups into the EAD-editing interface to link archival collections and subordinate components to modern geographic places.  The EAD geogname XBL component has been updated to support the Pleiades Gazetteer of Ancient Places search services so that place names and Pleiades IDs can be extracted by means of the project's RSS feed response.

So after we select the correct Pleiades place from the list, the @authfilenumber will be populated with the Pleiades ID, and the @source is 'pleiades.'  When the finding aid is published to Solr, a lookup of the RDF serialization is performed on the Pleiades URI, and geographic coordinates are stored in Solr to power the mapping interfaces.  Furthermore, the URI is reconstructed given the @authfilenumber and @source and stored in the Solr index (along with URIs for Geonames, VIAF, LCSH, and other controlled vocabulary sources).

Like Numishare, EADitor now has piplines for pelagios.void.rdf and pelagios.rdf so that each finding aid in the system is represented as an oac:Annotation in the Pelagios RDF dump.  Each annotation includes associated Pleiades URIs.

Currently, EADitor only supports the publication of collections as a whole as individual Solr documents, and thus the oac:Annotation reflects the entire finding aid.  However, in the near future, I will implement a different publication system that allows EADitor users to publish individual components on an atomized level: selecting higher level series for publication as Solr docs and even components on the item level.  Already, EADitor has been updated to support the display of individual components at uniquely addressable URIs by appending '/' + the component's @id to the finding aid URI.  The '.rdf' extension can be added to the finding aid or component URI to receive an RDF serialization back, which conforms to Aaron Rubinstein's arch ontology.  I plan to make EADitor's linked open data standards conform to the Linked Archival Metadata (LiAM) Guidebook in the long-term.

So what does all of this mean?   Linked-data awareness built into the application increases the archive's potential for meaningful data aggregation.  An archive which consists of content about the ancient world can be incorporated into Pelagios, making this content available to researchers interested more broadly in the ancient world.  Archives and photographs from excavations in Athens, for example, will be available alongside epigraphy, coins, statues, pottery, etc. also created or found in the ancient city.  Linking to Geonames or VIAF  references can improve the user experience of the archival collection.  These resources link to dbpedia, and so biographical or contextual information can be extracted by machine-readable means and displayed in the web interface.

But wait, there's more.

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