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Wednesday, March 28 • 9:00am - 1:15pm
1 - Semantic Web Technologies Applied to Numismatic Collections

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This paper describes the ongoing efforts of the authors to present ancient Greek and Roman numismatic data on the public internet, with an emphasis on efforts to integrate information from multiple sources using Linked Data and Semantic Web techniques. By way of very modern metaphor, it is useful to think of coins as intentionally created packages of 'named entities'. Each coin was struck by a particular authority, often at a known site, and coins often make reference to familiar concepts such as deities, historical events, or symbols that were widely recognized in the ancient world. The institutions represented among the authors have deployed search interfaces that allow users to take advantage of this aspect of numismatic databases. The American Numismatic Society's database provides faceted search to its collection of over 550,000 objects. The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) in the UK presents individual finds (and hoards) recorded throughout the country. The Römisch-Germanische Kommission and the University of Frankfurt (DBIS) are developing a prototype metaportal (INTERFACE) that accesses national databases of coin finds held in in Frankfurt, Vienna and Utrecht. Each of these resources is beginning to explore Semantic Web/Linked data approaches so that the role of numismatic standards is immediately coming to the fore. DBIS and INTERFACE are developing a numismatic ontology. At the ANS and PAS, the public database already presents RDF serializations based on Dublin Core. Together, the authors have begun to explore standardization of conceptual names on the basis of the vocabulary presented at the site http://nomisma.org . Nomisma.org is a collaborative effort to provide stable digital representations of numismatic concepts and entities. It provides URIs for such basic concepts as 'coin', 'mint', 'axis'. All of these are defined within the scope of numismatics but are already being linked to other stable resources where available. This is particularly the case for mints. For example, the URI http://nomisma.org/id/corinth is intended to represent that ancient city in its role as a minter/issuer of coins. The URI is linked via the SKOS ontology to the Pleiades Gazetteer of ancient places. This allows Nomisma to be the basis for a common representation of the concept that an object is a coin minted at Corinth. The ANS has already deployed such relationships in its public database. The work of all these projects is very much in progress so that this paper hopes to generate discussion on how multiple large projects can move forward in their own work while encouraging sufficient commonality to support large scale research questions undertaken by diverse audiences.

avatar for Ethan Gruber

Ethan Gruber

Diretor of Data Science, American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society Twitter: @ewg118ORCID

Karsten Tolle

University of Frankfurt

Wednesday March 28, 2012 9:00am - 1:15pm BST
Building 65, 1177 Streamed into room 1095

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