Thursday, March 17, 2016

First EBook published as part of Mellon/NEH Humanities Open Book Project

This is a follow-up to some major feature additions in MANTIS and IGCH detailed on the Numishare blog.

Today, we have published our first out of print, open access EBook for the NEH/Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program. It is Sydney Noe's 1920 Coin Hoards, the first issue of Numismatic Notes and Monographs. As we discussed in our grant application, we had a vendor transcribe these PDFs of images we received from HathiTrust into TEI. The TEI is run through a normalization XSLT stylesheet to correct some issues and pull bibliographic metadata from various sources, and then value-added tagging is applied to link to coins in our collection, hoards on, and entities in various geographic gazetteers or linked open data vocabulary systems.

As a result, we not only have a digital text that you can view in your browser as HTML5 or download as an EPUB 3.0.1, but a richly-tagged document that is exposed as RDF conforming to Open Annotation, which is then published into our archival SPARQL endpoint (and soon published into Pelagios). Many of the technical features of this publication process have already been discussed in this blog or in the post linked above.

This framework is part of a broader effort to integrate all of our Library, Archive, and Museum holdings into a central hub for numismatic research. It is therefore possible to gain further insight about the people, places, and things mentioned in these digital publications through Linked Open Data methodologies, but also to provide greater context to our data-driven numismatic research projects like IGCH, OCRE, etc.

Not only do we have a rich set of interlinked numismatic projects focusing on hoards, coins, and coin types, but now between these things and numismatic monographs and journals, archival research notebooks, finding aids, and authority records. Not only is it possible to read biographical information about Sydney Noe in Archer, you can view a map and timeline of his life, his social network graph, and gain access to a list of materials written by or about him.

This is the topic of my CAA presentation in Oslo in a few weeks.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Toward a more thoroughly integrated numismatic research system

I am making updates to our systems in preparation for the initial publication of NEH/Mellon EBooks. Part of the project is to thoroughly integrate these EBooks with our collection, archives, IGCH, and related project databases. I still have some work to do, but should have the first EBooks ready next week.
I updated the RDF model for our digitized Newell notebooks to conform to the model for our EBooks (Open Annotation) (there is one book published so far, the ANS Medals book by Miller). What this means is that mentions of IGCH, other scholars represented in our biographies site, and [soon] individual coins in Newell's notebooks will be made available through those other interfaces.


  • You can click on individual pages where Newell notes IGCH1399, and the page will load in Archer.
  • You can see a list of coin types from this hoard, and you can download the list of coin types or a full list of coins from the hoard (note that we aren't publishing our Greek coins that aren't connected to coin type URIs in's SPARQL endpoint).

On (an EAC-CPF authority record)

These already functioned --
  • See a list of archival materials about Edward Newell
  • (Fairly new) Several annotations in Miller's Medallic Arts of the ANS where he mentions Newell. You can click a link to go directly to a section.
  • A social network graph showing Newell and his relations (also driven by SPARQL, detailed here).

  • As before, you can get a list of archival materials about Noe
  • Newell mentions Noe on two pages of a notebook

Next steps:
  1. Update the code for Mantis to display annotations about specific coins referenced in Newell's notebooks or our EBooks.
  2. Update the Pelagios exports for the Digital Library and Archer to make our EBooks and archival materials more broadly accessible to the ancient world community
  3. Build widgets into our Digital Library to pull data from our other systems

This interlinking will be inherent to the publication mechanism for our EBooks. When we publish the first several next week, the annotations will be available in Mantis, the Archer Biographies, IGCH, etc.

I will be discussing these things and more in my presentation at CAA in Oslo at the end of the month.