One of the chief aims of the Linked Pasts Working Group is to help extend the support the Pelagios Commons infrastructure offers to historians out beyond its roots in the geographical study of the classical Mediterranean world. In every sense we want to cover more territory – spatially (throughout the rest of the globe), temporally (both before and after the span of the classical West), and in terms of domain (beyond ‘space and place’, to represent time periods, people, and whatever other entities are of interest to historical researchers).
Of course, this expansion of coverage also demands an expansion in community. It’s thanks to the dedication, intelligence, and skill of its predominantly-classicist user base that Pelagios Commons has become as successful and far-reaching as it has for the classical world. To keep moving beyond this domain will require equally engaged and intelligent contributions from historians of other times and places. And of course, to make technical or community decisions without participation or feedback from the many scholarly communities that stand to gain from Linked Pasts is to run the risk of excluding them from the graph of historical representation we’re now building. Any technical or disciplinary barriers that arise now will only be harder to remove, later.
For most areas, there is little risk of this: Pelagios Commons already includes researchers into time periods from prehistory to the 19th century, and areas from Asia to North America. However, we still don’t have any participants specialising in the following areas:
- the 20th century
- indigenous peoples
- the Antipodes
Historians with a research focus in any of these areas are encouraged to register as members of Pelagios Commons (http://commons.pelagios.org/register/), and to join the Announce (http://commons.pelagios.org/groups/announcements-list/) and Discuss (http://commons.pelagios.org/groups/discussion-list-136072473/) mailing lists. Participation is as minimal or extensive as you desire. But any feedback on issues discussed there will be gratefully received – and of course this is an excellent opportunity to voice the requirements of your discipline, and ensure its value and distinctiveness are represented in the community.