Friday, May 16, 2008

GRBPIlion and

[Updated thanks to Susan Heath, who caught a substantive error in my description of the inbibrec element.]

Where possible, I have added links to for books in the bibliography of Greek, Roman and Byzantine Pottery at Ilion (Troia), the volume I edit with Billur Tekkök.

I probably should have been doing this all along... It was a little boring to play catch-up... But it will now be easy to keep on top of the task as I go forward.

A word on format. Here's the xml I use for Fleischer et al. 2001. Late Antiquity: art in context [worldcat]:

<bibrec id="FleischerJLundJ2001">
<title>Late Antiquity: art in context</title>
<series>Acta Hyperborea</series>
<publisher>Museum Tusculanum Press</publisher>
<link rel="url" href="" />
<link rel="worldcat" href="" />
This volume is in the bibliography because it includes the chapter "The stamped decoration on Phocaean red slip ware" by L. Vaag on p. 215. The xml for this chapter is:

<bibrec id="VaagL2001">
<inbibrec idref="FleischerJLundJ2001"/>
<title>The stamped decoration on Phocaean red slip ware</title>
The inbibrec element of the chapter record, whose idref attribute equals the value of the id attribute of the volume record, creates the link between the two.

It is very true that this xml adheres to no standard. It's my own creation. When I started encoding bibliographic data in xml, I was unsatisfied with all the options so I made up my own. I'm sure I'll move to a standard when one that is granular, lightweight and easy to encode comes along. But sticking to what's current now, combining the two xml records via an xslt stylesheet leads to html such as this.

My one current concession to somewhat standard markup is the link element by which I instantiate the connection to the Worldcat record and to the Google Books version of this volume. This element originated in html and is now used in the Atom Syndication format. I use it as a lightweight encoding for noting multiple relevant internet resources for the volume's record. You can see those links rendered in html here. Next I'll make those links show up in the chapter's html page.

For those who care, I'm tempted to use Atom as a wrapper for the individual bibliographic records. I could even use georss to make the bibliography mappable. That could be cool.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Numismatic Geography

I attended a workshop yesterday on digital geography at NYU's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. It was billed as a hackfest and the participants focused on strategies for interoperability of geographic datasets, which is a primary concern of the Concordia Project. My contribution was discussion of the work I'm doing at the American Numismatic Society to provide a geographic infrastructure for accessing our collection. The most concrete result of this work is an incipient list of "geographic entities" that are linked into the ANS database. Here's a sampling of URL's that make this list actually usable:
If you open any of these links and click on one of the symbols, you will see a link to a URL similar to The resulting page is a little spare but it points to a future in which the ANS establishes unique identifiers for conceptual entities of numismatic interest. In this case, Patara is a geographic entity that is also a mint. "Mint" is an ambiguous term but that's a discussion for another context. What matters is that the ANS now has a simple syntax for establishing identity. Such identities can be linked to third party authority lists, in this case the Pleiades definitions of ancient places. Anybody else using that identifier can know that s/he is referring to the same concept as is the ANS when we say, "Here is a list of coins from Patara." That is a huge step forward.

These id URLs can also be extended with ".atom" and ".kml" to produce an automatically parseable Atom feed or Google Earth compatible representation for each entity. A further implication of this is that I can show maps in the search results produced by the ANS database. If you scroll down in, you'll see a "show map" button for the records from Cyrene. Click there for the relevant Google Map.

The NYU/ISAW workshop provided an incentive to get this infrastructure up and running on a preliminary basis. I'm grateful for that and for the hospitality of our hosts. It was an enjoyable day all round!

Monday, May 12, 2008

CAG 66: Les Pyrénées-Orientales

My copy of Carte Archéologique de la Gaule: Les Pyrénées-Orientales (66) edited by J. Kotarba, G. Castellvi and F. Maziere arrived recently from [worldcat]. The CAG series describes each volume as a "pré-inventaire archéologique" but there is some modesty in this. While it's true that most of the entries are brief, the introductory thematic overviews are usually first rate and the information in each volume is so up-to-date at the time of publication that they are essential research tools.

CAG Les Pyrénées-Orientales continues the trend of increasing use of color images and this is very welcome. Overall, the volume is excellent and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Do you like inscriptions? Check out the color image of a lead tablet discoverd in 2003 and inscribed with incompetent Greek (p. 250). Or the series of Roman-period inscribed pots, known since 1958, which may represent the trash from a tavern (p. 504). I particularly enjoyed the review of work at Ruscino near Perpignan. There is a Visigothic component here as well as an Islamic settlement dating to the 8th century, as indicated by the presence of lead seals with Arabic legends (p. 471-473). For its part, the overview of underwater discoveries pulls together information that is scattered in many publications (p. 622-641).

It takes patience to makes one's way through a CAG volume. The reward is finding something interesting that you might otherwise have missed, like the six nomismata Byzantine weight illustrated on p. 281. It comes from a site at which African Red-Slip was recorded, including the 5th to 6th century form Hayes 87.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Psalmodi in France

After a long hiatus, my colleague David Yoon and I are turning our attention to the website of the Williams College Excavations at Psalmodi, France. It currently has the aesthetic of an earlier Internet age but there is a lot of good content there, with more to come. As an example of what's there now, the ceramic pages currently include:It will be good to get back to this material.