Monday 1 October 2012

2-Way Linked Data? It just, you know, works.

Another title for this short post could be "ISAW Papers now in Pelagios," but that's a little dry. And beyond announcing more data in the growing ecosystem, I do want to highlight the "2-way" part of this most recent addition.

 But first, what's ISAW Papers? That's easy. It's the online journal of NYU's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW). Following the link will take you to more information.

 Here's another link, this one to the first ISAW Papers annotations, with more to come soon. And just FYI, those are currently all from ISAW Papers 2 by Catharine Lorber and Andrew Meadows so many thanks to them for being part of the fun.

 Next question is, "What do you mean by '2-way'?" In the list of annotations I linked to above, there is one to "Cyprus" that shows the URL:

Note the fragment identifier "#p8". The archival format of an ISAW Papers article is HTML, which makes it easy to assign an identifier to every paragraph. As part of its publication model, ISAW partners with NYU's library to deliver articles, and that relationship is the source of the link you see above. The library runs the '' host. If you click above, it will take you directly to the eighth paragraph of ISAW Papers 2.

 But that's still just one-way linked data. Try hovering over the underlined reference to Cyprus. You should see a map in a pop-up, next to which is a link to "Further references at Pelagios". Follow that to the Pelagios page telling you there is a reference to Cyprus in ISAW Papers as well as in other resources.  It's 'two-way' in that you can go back-and-forth, back-and-forth on the basis of the stable identifier for Cyprus as provided by Pleiades. And as many of you may know, clicking through to the Pleiades page will show the link to ISAW Papers. Now we're talking N-way linked data, which is what we really want. As in, "Now we're talkin'! Sweet!!!"

 And just for further context, the pop-up is implemented by the "Ancient World Javascript Library," another ISAW project hoping to deliver usable tools to all who might be interested in them.

 Of course, the "just works" part of the title downplays all the effort by many people to make this seamless. But that's how it should look to users. With such ease-of-use coming into being, it will be cool to see what people do with all these links.

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