Tuesday, July 9, 2019

135 ANS authority records merged into SNAC

Finally, after fine-tuning the xEAC-to-SNAC publication workflow over the last few months after initially building this functionality into xEAC last summer, I have switched over to the SNAC production API. We have integrated authority data from 135 EAC-CPF records in the American Numismatic Society Biographies into the Social Networks and Archival Context project. Among these authority records are dozens of new ones inserted into SNAC, complete with biographical information and references to digital archival and library holdings at the ANS. One of the more notable additions to SNAC is Margaret Thompson, one of the most prominent Greek numismatists of the latter 20th century and a long-time curator at the ANS.

Not only have we provided a comprehensive biography of Margaret Thompson, but also URIs in other systems, such as VIAF and Wikidata.  The Bibliographic Resources for Thompson include numerous archival photographs (which link back to the ANS Archives--many of these are available in IIIF) and four ebooks in our Open Access Digital Library. These ebooks were digitized as part of the NEH-Mellon Foundation Open Humanities Book program.

SNAC record for Edward T. Newell, with biography from the ANS.

In fact, since many of the ~200 books digitized as part of this NEH-Mellon project were authored by prominent numismatists represented in the ANS archival authorities, 74 of these books have been made accessible to scholars through SNAC. This was the aim of our initial application to this grant program--finally realized by much work in extending xEAC to be able to interact with SNAC's JSON APIs. We not only wanted to create a large corpus of TEI ebooks that linked to URIs in our numismatic collection or research databases like Online Coins of the Roman Empire and the Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards (and similar systems), but to integrate these books into the larger cloud of cultural heritage data by linking the authors to large-scale authority systems like SNAC that could be leveraged to point researchers back to our own services.

SNAC was funded not only by Mellon (like our ebooks project), but also initially by the IMLS and the NEH. In this way, we are providing value to funders by building upon projects in which they have already invested: creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. I hope that other institutions will look at xEAC and our broader archival LOD strategy (see Linked Open Data and Hellenistic Numismatics and Linked Open Data for Numismatic Library, Archive, and Museum Integration for further information about this architecture) as a means by which they too can enhance SNAC while simultaneously broadening access to their own materials.

By incorporating our archival authorities and digital archives and library into SNAC, we are providing pathways through broader, more generalized aggregators for non-numismatic researchers who may otherwise never think to query our archives directly. A great example of this is the record for the prominent sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This record links to more than 160 finding aids published by dozens of institutions, including museum archives, and so art historians may find correspondences in our archives as well as the Smithsonian Archives of American Art or the New York Public Library. Furthermore, since we have already used the Wikidata API look-up inherent to xEAC to embed related authority URIs in our own EAC-CPF record, we inserted the Getty ULAN URI for Saint-Gaudens into SNAC. This would, in theory, make it possible for SNAC to interact with art historical aggregators built on the Getty vocabularies to extract other works of cultural heritage, such as medals held at the American Numismatic Society or sculptures held in other art museums both in the United States and abroad.

I think we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of what will be possible interacting with SNAC.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Updates to IIIF image annotation in the EADitor back-end

The American Numismatic Society's archival images were migrated into IIIF in the fall of 2017, including the extension of EADitor to faciliate the creation of manifests from TEI files that represent the Newell notebooks. While the front end was updated to use Leaflet for single photographs (MODS records) or Mirador for image collections, like the notebooks or the Agnes Balwin Brett papers, the back-end had not been updated to enable the editing or creation of new annotations.

After the back-to-back releases of the full Seleucid Coins Online and the first phase of Ptolemaic Coins Online in December, I have been able to pivot completely from coin type corpora and data cleaning to working on our digital archives for a brief period. After fixing some bugs, I turned my attention to piecing the image annotation back together in the XForms engine for TEI editing/publication within Archer. The original system was developed in 2014. This blog post covers most of the technical underpinnings, but to summarize: Rainer Simon's Annotorious was hooked into OpenLayers to facilitate image annotation. The create/remove/update handlers in Annotorious were used to round trip the annotations to/from TEI surface elements within tei:facsimiles and Annotorious' JSON model in the XForms engine (using the client-side Javascript hooks in Orbeon). There have been significant updates to Orbeon since 2014, and my original code was somewhat broken, and therefore I needed to explore alternative solutions.

My first attempt was loading a manifest for a Newell notebook into Mirador in the XForms web form. Although Mirador did load the manifest, due to of some unforeseen conflicts between the Javascript in Orbeon and Mirador, the annotation popups (with the TinyMCE library) didn't function correctly. I then began to explore Masahide Kanzaki's Image Annotator. This was appealing, as I had tested this application's ability to show two images on the same canvas in dynamically SPARQL-generated IIIF manifests from Numishare-based type corpora (see this example of RRC 15/1a that combines IIIF images from three different museums into one manifest--one canvas per coin and two images per canvas). The Image Annotator not only loads IIIF manifests into OpenSeaDragon, but was extended to support Annotorious for creating and viewing annotations.

After several days of work, I have been able to fully reactivate image annotation in the EADitor back-end with the Image Annotator. It took a little bit of reverse engineering in order to find the functions for the handlers, with some slight modifications to my original code to hook the Annotorious handlers into the XForms engine. This included some changes in the mathematical calculations for converting the ratio-based coordinates to pixels for the TEI surface's upper-left x,y and lower-right x,y attributions. These TEI attributes are serialized into proper #xywh fragments in the Web Annotations in the manifest.

Fig. 1: Image Annotator in the XForms engine

I also had to track down and comment out some components of the UI (like the document metadata and links) and tweak the CSS so that the OpenSeaDragon window fit within the parameters of my existing Bootstrap 3.x template.

URIs in certain namespaces are still parsed to extract human-readable labels (see Fig. 1 and 2), for example, from the ANS collection. My intention is to extend the range of parseable URIs to include Wikidata, other URIs in the ANS digital library or archives, Social Networks and Archival Context, Worldcat Works, and, eventually, URIs for Hellenistic monograms. I might even extend the parsing to extract thumbnail images for coins and store those in the tei:desc within the TEI document (in addition to simple mixed content w/ tei:ref elements as external links).

Fig. 2: After clicking 'Save', the URI is replaced with an HTML link

After the reworking of the IGCH data over the next several months, we will turn our attention to annotating more of Edward T. Newell's notebooks as part of the NEH-funded Hellenistic Royal Coinages (HRC) project. The UI provided by the Image Annotator is much easier to work with than the one I had developed more directly within XForms nearly five years ago, and so we should see some significant progress toward annotation these notebooks to link to coins in our (or other) numismatic collections, coin types in HRC, Greek coin hoards, and our yet-to-be-published database of Greek monograms. And these annotations will enhance research context in our other platforms by pointing users back to individual notebook pages in Archer from Mantis or IGCH (for example, from http://coinhoards.org/id/igch1664 or http://numismatics.org/collection/1944.100.26870).

SPARQL-generated list of Open Annotations related to IGCH 1664