Pelagios Project at Yale
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June Samaras
2014-10-02 03:58:35 UTC

Taking to the high seas: introducing Pelagios phase 4

This month sees the start of another new and exciting phase of Pelagios.
With funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Digital
we will be exploring the transformative potential of our linked open data
network for doing research. In short our brief is to address the question,
"ok, now we can link stuff online—so what?"

In response to the challenge posed by "data silos
<http://searchcloudapplications.techtarget.com/definition/data-silo>" (the
mass of independently produced material uploaded onto the Web), since 2011
we have been developing the means of linking online resources via their
common references to place. This has involved "annotating" the place names
found in documents and aligning those references to a global gazetteer
service (for the ancient world, this is Pleiades <http://pleiades.stoa.org/>).
Using Pleiades's Uniform Resource Identifiers
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_resource_identifier> (or "social
security numbers") for each ancient place as our glue, it is now possible
to agree that places mentioned in different materials are one and the same
(e.g. Classical Athens and not "Athens, Georgia"). Users are now able to
move seamlessly between and search the records of a growing list
partners <http://pelagios-project.blogspot.co.uk/p/partners.html>.

Thus each place annotation made in the document doesn’t just attach useful
spatial information to a resource; it also provides a way of linking to
other resources. But, as Andrew Prescott, leader of the AHRC’s Digital
Transformations strand, has recently written
is much harder than [the ability to link]: we need to be clear about why we
are linking data, what sort of data we are linking, and our aim in doing
so'*. Our one-year grant from the AHRC looks to unlock the potential of our
place network to reveal previously unknown connections between different
places and different documents (texts, databases, maps, etc.).

In particular what we want to do is to use these new links between
different documents to rethink key periods in the history of cartography.
Until now digital resources have largely concerned issues of accuracy and
visualization; i.e. to pinpoint the locations of ancient places with
respect to our contemporary topography. What we want to do, rather, is to
try to reconstruct and interpret the markedly different ways in which
pre-modern authors and mapmakers conceptualized the world. Turning the
spotlight on to five moments in time, Pelagios 4 will explore how ancient
or pre-modern authors used various means to grasp, represent and
communicate spatial knowledge of the world around them.

To conduct this research Pelagios is happy to announce the following
scholarly collaborators:

- Pascal Arnaud <https://univ-lyon2.academia.edu/PascalARNAUD>,
Professor of History at Université Lyon 2 and senior member of the Institut
universitaire de France (IUF), is the leading specialist in ancient
geography and navigation.
- Tony Campbell
<http://www.maphistorydirectory.org/index.php/User:Campbell.Tony> is
former head of the British Library’s ‘Map Room’ and the pre-eminent expert
on Portolan Charts.
- Marianne O'Doherty
Lecturer in English at the University of Southampton, has published on
medieval European travel narratives, geography and cartography.
- Klaus Geus <https://www.topoi.org/person/geus-klaus/>, Chair of
Ancient Geography at FU Berlin, co-ordinates the TOPOI Excellence Cluster
in ‘Common Sense Geography’. He is joined by Irina Tupikova
<https://tu-dresden.academia.edu/IrinaTupikova>, a leading mathematical
astronomer with an interest in the history of science.

We look forward to working with these scholars and rethinking the ways in
which geographic space was imagined and represented before the advent of
modern Cartesian cartography.
June Samaras
2020 Old Station Rd
Canada L5M 2V1
Tel : 905-542-1877
E-mail : ***@gmail.com