Monday, 21 February 2011

Pelagios Project Plan Part 1: Aims, Objectives and Final Output(s) of the project

Overall aim

To trial a method of linking open data (LOD) that enables scholars and enthusiasts alike to discover and make use of references to ancient places in maps, texts, images and tables.


1. Define a Core Ontology for Place References (COPR). In discussion with external groups, the project partners will develop a base-line ontology to help users answer two kinds of query:

i) Within this document (text, map, database), give me a list/map of all the ancient places in it.

ii) Given this place, give me a list of documents (texts, maps, databases) that reference it.

i.e. we’re looking for the simplest method for enabling users to say with confidence that the document they’re looking at refers to place x (or vice versa), and then to bring up additional sources of information about it.

2. Trial this ontology on different document types (text, map, database) related to ancient world research, where each partner:

i) Aligns place references in their own document types to Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) in the Pleiades gazetteer of ancient places

ii) Generates Resource Description Framework (RDF) based on the ontology

iii) Documents that process so that it can be reproduced by others.

3. Create prototype tools and services, which are easily consumable by learners, educators, researchers and the public, to demonstrate the power and effectiveness of this approach.

i.e. answer the ‘so what?” question by demonstrating some of the things that users will be able to do with this resource.


1. A publicly available, lightweight core ontology which can then by modified or extended by different users: i.e. the ontology will permit modular extensions for different kinds of document so that details specific to each type will not add unnecessary complexity for users wishing to publish data in conformance with the core ontology. The COPR ontology will be immediately accessible as RDF/XML on the Pleiades website.

2. Documentation of the processes by which each partner identifies place references and aligns those references to Pleiades. Drawing on the consortium’s breadth of experience, we will detail these processes as a guide for others looking to adopt a linked open geodata (LOG) approach: i.e. although we’re using URIs based on Pleiades, the ontology should be able to work with other gazetteers (including those based on modern placenames). Project partners will host instance RDF describing their holdings on their own websites or in established repositories such as the TALIS Connected Commons.

3. Development of open source web services and neo-geographic web tools. These technologies will optimize machine-access to the raw RDF and make both the discovery and visualization (by map, list or ordered ‘timeline’) of the integrated geodata simple for learners, teachers, researchers and the general public. All software Code will be made publicly available through an open repository (e.g. GitHub).

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