From the very beginning, Itiner-e is working to create the first Historical Roads Gazetteer which will support the creation of linked open road datasets.
Building a new type of gazetteer is like walking down a long and windy path, with many obstacles on the way and some important places to visit and reflect. Pelagios Commons gave us perhaps the most important element needed in such a journey: the knowledge that the final destination would be worth our while (an integrated resource) and the opportunity to travel together with a diverse group of colleagues. In this blog post we will reveal the first two important stops on our journey, and some reflections on the road ahead.
Following our travel plan, the first stop in our route was to define which sources we will use and to find information about them. This was quite easy as we focused our first prototype of Itiner-e on the Iberian Peninsula, building on our own previous work. We found that the sources which were the best to start with were those that referred to the entire Peninsula or at least covered a big part of it. The first source included in Itiner-e was the Vicarello Cups, the four silver vessels found in the baths of Aquae Apollinares, at Vicarello (Italy) with the route between Gades (Cádiz) and Rome. Secondly, we included all the routes of the Itinerarium Antonini Augusti of the Iberian Peninsula (34) and finally, we also included the “Itinerario de Barro”: four Roman clay tablets from the mid-third century, containing five itineraries from the north-west of the peninsula. All of these routes have different information: names, chronology, description, places within the road, bibliography…
Fig 1. Map with the routes included in the first Itiner-e Gazetteer and the main placenames included within them annotated in Recogito.
The second stop in our journey was the creation of a web-based data management platform and interface to allow us to integrate all the collected information about the itineraries and all the geographical information. So far, the platform has been created and is being tested and modified. Hosted by the Institut d’Estudis Catalans’ server, its design is simple but useful and focused on the team users. In the next weeks, we’ll create a new interface which is more user-friendly to allow access to all the information.
Fig 2. Screencaps from the Itiner-e platform
Where do we go from here? After having uploaded all the information into the Itiner-e platform, we are now testing the best options to integrate additional formats of information (textual and geographical) within the system. We are also preparing the implementation of a new data format for the routes information that adds topological information to the list-based and geographical information already included: relationships between places accessible via routes to allow for the creation of network datasets directly from Itiner-e.
BUT, we still have some distance to travel and we will have some issues to solve…
All of this will be explained at our next meeting!