It's all coming together at PELAGIOS

For years (over a decade in fact) we've been dreaming and talking about linking up ancient world resources on the web along the thematic axis of geography. Pleiades was launched in no small part in pursuit of that vision. And today comes more proof -- to which many can relate -- that hard work, collaboration, and openness bears really tasty fruit.

The Perseus geospatial data now includes annotations of ancient places with Pleiades URIs. Beginning next week, the Places widget in the Perseus interface will include links to download the Pleiades annotations in OAC compliant RDF format. These links will appear for any text with place entity markup which also has places from this dataset. We are also providing a link to search on the top five most frequently mentioned of these places in the Pelagios graph explorer.
(Check out the rest of the story, which provides a screenshot of the interface changes and a step-by-step description of how the work was done).

How did this come to be possible? Here's a very much abridged history:

  • Perseus built a path-breaking, web-based digital library of resources for the study of the ancient world; released a bunch of their code and content under open licenses; and managed the geographic aspects of the content as data
  • Pleiades built on and marshaled the efforts of the Classical Atlas Project, the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization, and other collaborators to publish an ever-improving geographic dataset on the web under a permissive open license
  • Leif Isaksen, on behalf of the Google Ancient Places project, took that dataset, mashed it up with another open geographical dataset (GeoNames) and published the results (Pleiades+) under a public domain declaration (more openness).
  • The PELAGIOS team took Pleiades+ and started matching it with their data. Perseus is just the latest member of that team to do so, and there are more on the way.
The resulting interface enhancements Perseus is announcing today are just the latest visible example of how the web of people benefits from the creation and exploitation of the web of data, and it's all super-charged by openness.

I'm grateful to the hard-working folks, and the array of funding agencies and host institutions, whose commitment and support are making these dreams come true.

Closing in on a Pleiades hack day date

Thanks to all who have registered their interest in, and availability for, the proposed Pleiades hack day to work on titles and descriptions for "well-known" places. By the close of business today (Thursday, 3 November 2011, US Eastern time), I'll announce the day for the hack day based on the majority availability as indicated in the scheduling poll.

If you want to have an influence over the date selection, please post a comment here or email me and I'll send you a link to the scheduling poll.

Pleiades Hack Day

I'm thinking it's time. Time we designated a particular day to give over to ganging up on Pleiades content and making it better. Looking at the low-hanging-and-annoying-fruit list, the first thing that comes to mind is improving our titles and descriptions to facilitate discovery and disambiguation. I've laid out what I see as the landscape in a document on the Pleiades site: Improving Titles and Descriptions for Prominent Places.

So what remains is to see who would be willing to devote at least a couple of hours (if not a whole day) to this enterprise and to fix a day for it. You don't need to be an expert to help with this job. Anyone interested at all in ancient geography who has basic web skills and can get on the internet at the scheduled time should be able to make a substantive contribution, whether they are a student, a scholar or an interested "layperson".

If you're interested, leave a comment on my blog and I'll send you a link to a doodle poll to do the scheduling.

Meetup: The Future of the Ancient World Image Bank

So, my brain has mashed up its happiness at the success of last week's Pleiades community meetup with the hanging conversations that started in response to my blog post on Pleiades machine tags in Flickr. Nate Nagy (AWIB Managing Editor) and I had a good conversation a couple of weeks ago about the future of AWIB, one that would be more open and collaborative than the current model.

I'd like to light a fire under (and refine) those ideas. I'm starting a Doodle poll to find a time for a "future of AWIB" meetup, to be held via Google+. I'll send invites to all of our contacts on Flickr and others who have expressed interest. Please post a comment here if you'd like to be part of the event.

Unexpected End to a Halloween Tradition

There's a thread going about this on Facebook, but since that's a walled garden I'm going to repeat my initial post here for the consideration of a wider audience (assuming there is an audience):

So the answer to the question "When are we going to hear about the Randolph School Halloween Carnival this year" seems to be: "there's not going to be one; it's been rebranded as the 'first-ever Raider Ruckus'". Color me sad and frustrated. An extended pep rally is fine and good, but the Halloween Carnival was a great tradition and gave our kids a fantastic venue for the holiday. The question now is: "what rationale, and driven by whom, brought about this change?"

And, no, I'm guessing they're not aware that the Urban Dictionary glosses a "raider ruckus" as a "drug dealer" (citing a lyric from Method Man's What the Blood Clot).

Taygete Atlantis (Dig Blogs) Returns to Service

I've just returned the Taygete Atlantis Archaeological Dig Blog Aggregator to service, with the following changes:

You can view the full subscription list on the Taygete Atlantis page, or download it in OPML form to install in your own feed reader. 

Please drop me a line if you know of excavation blogs that should be added.

Recently Added to Maia Atlantis

The following blogs have recently been added to the Maia Atlantis Feed Aggregator:

Recently Added to Electra Atlantis

The following blogs have recently been added to the Electra Atlantis feed aggregator:

Maia Atlantis Returns to Service, With Changes

The Maia Atlantis feed aggregator has just been put back into service. The following blogs are no longer indexed:

  • Arkeologi Lampung: feed not well-formed
  • Fernando Lillo Redonet (Latín y Cultura Clásica en el siglo XXI): feed hangs on request
  • Nick Nicholas (Ἡλληνιστεύκοντος): feed contains invalid unicode character
  • CHS Fellowships Research Blog: feed returns 404 "not found"
  • Antiquity Lives: feed returns 404 "not found"
  • Épave sous-marine : Arles-Rhône 3: feed not well-formed