Thursday, 19 July 2012

MEKETRE - New Project Partner Introduction

The MEKETRE project seeks to systematically collect, research, and study the reliefs and paintings of Middle Kingdom tombs of Ancient Egypt. One of its main aims is to map and elaborate the development of the scenes and their content in comparison to the Old Kingdom. The project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and has a duration of three years (late 2009 until late 2012). The project's technical part features an online repository (the MEKETREpository) for easy exploration of the collected data.

Collected Data

The data in the MEKETREpository is, at the highest level, structured into tombs and fragments that contain themes, i.e. specific types of scenes that are part of the tomb decoration programme. Additional information can be attached to these themes in the form of annotations. To each tomb, theme and fragment multiple annotations can be attached that, e.g., highlight specific regions of interest. Furthermore, they connect these regions to descriptions which can be provided as free-text but also as classification terms or keywords from a controlled vocabulary. Annotations are an intuitive means to structure and organize information, for both data consumers and producers.

So far, the egyptological staff of the project has gathered an extensive amount of data, e.g.:

  • >240 Objects: ~114 Tombs, ~120 Themes, ~8 Fragments
  • >570 Images (3.5 GB)
  • ~1900 Annotations
  • ~500 Basic Terms, ~500 Classification Terms
  • >1700 References to >200 Publications
As mentioned above, the project also develops a controlled multilingual vocabulary with the main purpose to unify the terminology used for the descriptions of icons attested in the two-dimensional art. It is also published online as Linked Data and available for download in various serialization formats.

Linked Data Utilization

Every item in the repository can be viewed by using a webbrowser (cf. this item). Additionally, there is also the option to download an RDF representation of the item by clicking at triple icon on the top left of the page.

The controlled vocabularies used for annotating the repository items are created by using the third-party web application PoolParty. The tool supports scholors from the Egyptology domain in collaboratively building an online thesaurus following the SKOS de-facto standard for controlled vocabularies on the web. Our thesaurus is linked directly from the project's homepage or can be accessed directly from the PoolParty server.

In our implementation we use a MySQL database together with Triplify to generate the RDF representation of our content. It aims to adopt and reuse as many existing vocabularies as possible (e.g., Dublin Core, FOAF) but also makes use of our own core vocabulary.

Future Work

As a next step we intend to extend our repository by a separate web application that supports easy contribution (e.g., image uploading, creation of annotations, suggestion of new vocabulary terms) for interested users without scientific background. The goal is to collect even more material on Middle Kingdom artwork that can then be reviewed and amended by scholars. If the quality has reaches the necessary level, the material will be integrated into the MEKETREpository.

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