It is with great pleasure that we can announce our new Working Groups for 2018!
In previous years, the areas of Working Group activity have been decided by and coordinated through the work of the Pelagios Investigative Team and/or the Pelagios Commons Committee. And great strides been made with respect to improving the Multilingualism of Pelagios tools, creating tutorials so that these tools can be used in Pedagogy, developing intersections between place entities and Time, and establishing an independent Linked Pasts group aimed at extending a linked pasts ecosystem beyond Pelagios (see http://commons.pelagios.org/working-groups/).
This year, however, we have extended the model of our successful Resource Development Grant scheme model, and solicited applications from the community in order that they may take more ownership of organising activities within the Pelagios Commons. The three successful proposals range across disciplines, materials and countries to encompass texts, gazetteers and non-Cartesian representations of space in the US, Europe and Australasia. They are:
- The Linked Texts Working Group: led by Matteo Romanello (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and Hugh Cayless (Duke University), this WG seeks to address the problem of linking to digital texts with a granularity down to the passage level. Although there exist a number of platforms and identifier schemes for referring to texts, at present there is no broadly agreed upon way of citing digital editions in a resolvable way. This is important because persistent identifiers can enable common references to works (e.g. the Iliad) and to specific editions of that work (e.g. the Venetus A manuscript of the Iliad). The Linked Texts WG will build on existing and emerging standards and frameworks to develop recommendations for fully resolvable URIs for citable passages of texts, linked to relevant resources.
- The Urban Gazetteer Working Group: led by Susanna de Beer (University of Leiden), Janelle Jensted (University of Victoria, Canada), and Valeria Vitale (University of London), this WG seeks to address the problem of linking resources within a city. While current community gazetteers (like Pleiades or Geonames) operate at the global level and provide the backbone for the Pelagios method of linking materials based on common references to places at the settlement level, when considering place-references connected to large settlements with a rich cultural heritage (like Rome or Athens) the results are often too generic or overwhelming to be truly informative. The Urban Gazetteer WG will create a set of common guidelines for the development of new gazetteers that model single monuments and/or locations within cities as places, and assign them individual URIs.
- Australia LAMLOD Group: led by Erik Champion (UNESCO Chair of Cultural Visualisation and Heritage, Curtin University) and Susan Fayad (City of Ballarat), this WG seeks to address the problem of linking materials between academic research and cultural heritage in an Australian context. This is not so much about extending Pelagios linked data practice to an entirely new continent, though that is important; the problem this WG seeks to address is the multi-layered and contentious representation of cultural heritage, namely: the vast scale of Australian landscapes and historic journeys; the local and highly specific Aboriginal ways of describing, navigating and experiencing the landscapes with hundreds of different languages; and the specific problem of integrating UNESCO designated built and natural heritage with its surrounding ecosystems. The LAMLOD WG will create landscape data and visualisation displays, investigate related cultural artefact knowledge (Indigenous and colonial), and build towards the integration of linked open data and 3D models.
Each WG will provide (a minimum of three) progress reports to be disseminated via the Pelagios Commons site (http://commons.pelagios.org/), culminating in the formal publication of their findings at the 2018 Linked Pasts colloquium (11-13 December, Mainz). The first report will be up within the next fortnight, so: watch this space!