Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Clarifying licenses in Mantis

As many of you might know, several ANS projects, like OCRE and CRRO, already have well-defined Open Database Licenses. In the ANS database itself, Mantis, we had a generic copyright and terms of use statement. We have moved forward with clarifying the licenses on Mantis. The data are made freely and openly available with an Open Database License. The images themselves are now under the Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commerical license. People are free to link to our coin images from external sites and projects. While this may have been going on anyway, we have now formalized the right to do this.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nomisma extended to link to the Getty ULAN, British Museum thesauri

This morning, the Getty Museum announced the release of the Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) thesaurus as linked open data. Following updates made to the Getty lookup mechanism in's XForms-based editing interface, I have ported these updates into Nomisma's editor. It is now possible to quickly and easily link people and organizations in Nomisma to matching concepts in the ULAN, much like what we have already implemented for linking mints and regions to the TGN and denominations, materials, manufacture methods, and object types to the AAT.

Furthermore, I took the time to finally fully implement the British Museum lookup mechanism in Nomisma. The British Museum thesauri cover many of the same broad categories as the Getty, but the main difference between the two systems is that the BM thesauri reflect what they have in their own database, and the Getty thesauri are aimed at representing concepts across all of art history. The Nomisma editing interface now enables quick and easy linking to denominations, ethnic identities, manufacture methods, materials, mints, object types, people, and regions in the BM thesauri.

See the following examples:

When creating or editing ids manually, we'll be able to easily add BM and Getty URIs into the system. Ideally we will want to do a mass update of all of our ids that can be mapped to concepts in both thesauri. Creating a concordance between Nomisma and Getty concepts will hopefully facilitate large-scale aggregation in the future.

Major photographic updates to OCRE

Much progress has been made recently in photographically covering the American Numismatic Society collection for the Roman imperial department. By using some NEH funding to hire a photographer to focus mainly on Roman imperial coins in a more high-speed workflow, photos for more than 7,000 Roman imperial coins have been captured over the last six months or so.

These images have finally pushed through the main image processing workflow and are now available online. The SPARQL endpoint has been updated with the latest dump from Mantis to reflect these additions. Furthermore, more than 1,100 new links to OCRE have been made from the ANS collection from RIC Volumes I to IV. Nearly 15,300 coins from the ANS are now linked in OCRE, up from just over 14,000 previously. Furthermore, the photographic coverage has been extended from 3,499 coins in our collection to about 12,000.

Lastly, we have pushed the first portion of RIC Volume V into OCRE. These are the coins from during Valerian's life, from his sole reign to joint reign with his son, Gallienus. We have not yet linked physical specimens from the ANS or other museum collections into these RIC V URIs yet, but look for this to be done in the next week or two. For now, you can take a look at the types at*.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

From 0 to 60 on SPARQL queries in 50 minutes

On Wednesday, May 13, at 10 AM EDT, I will be giving a free webinar sponsored by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative and the Association for Information Science & Technology.

This webinar provides an introduction to SPARQL, a query language for RDF. Users will gain hands on experience crafting queries, starting simply, but evolving in complexity. These queries will focus on coinage data in the SPARQL endpoint hosted by numismatic concepts defined in a SKOS-based thesaurus and physical specimens from three major museum collections (American Numismatic Society, British Museum, and M├╝nzkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) linked to these concepts. Results generated from these queries in the form of CSV may be imported directly into Google Fusion Tables for immediate visualization in the form of charts and maps.

This webinar was first presented as a training session in the LODLAM Training Day at SemTech2014. I will cover the basics of an RDF triple, but the presentation assumes some baseline understanding of linked data. The SPARQL queries will begin simply and build in complexity, culminating in spatial queries.

Sign up at 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

ANS Partners with HathiTrust for Open Access Publications

In a sweeping effort to make its older and out-of‐print publications available to the public as Open Access, The American Numismatic Society has partnered with HathiTrust ( As a result of this partnership scans of nearly 550 ANS titles – including the American Journal of Numismatics, Numismatic Literature, Numismatic Notes and Monographs, and stand-­alone monographs have become fully readable and downloadable to anyone who wants them under a Creative Commons, non-­commercial, attribution, share-­alike license. This means that these ANS publications can be used for personal reading, research, and academic publication just so long as the ANS is cited as the source. Titles currently in the public domain – already have a home on HathiTrust. These volumes were OCR-scanned as part of the Google Books project.

HathiTrust, founded in 2008 by the member universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the University of California, is a large, collaborative repository of digital content from research libraries and publishers that includes content digitized by Google Books and Internet Archive and Microsoft. Millions of volumes are available via HathiTrust’s website ( The entire repository can be full-text searched.

The ANS publications have been organized into a single collection for easy searching:;c=1850525919.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New framework has been released

After much work, the new framework has been launched into production. Not only is this a major architecture migration (moving the public UI from Apache Cocoon into Orbeon), but a data migration. We have implemented a new data model for IDs that conforms to the Nomisma ontology that Karsten Tolle has been working on for at least two years. IDs have a more stable system of classes that will improve the predictability of queries. There are presently 16 classes by which IDs are defined--most of them in the nmo: ( namespace, but we are using the W3C Organziation ontology for expressing roles of people and organizations (under foaf:). The ontology is still evolving, but has a carefully curated set of properties and classes that pertain to numismatics. Certain URIs (like nm:mint), will never again be used simultaneously as classes and properties. In fact, all of the URIs that were used as classes and properties have been made instances of nmo:NumismaticTerm. Instances of mints (like Rome or Athens) are an nmo:Mint, and nmo:hasMint is the property to use for linking a coin or coin type to a mint URI. The ontology and data conform to standards established by the semantic web and computer science communities.

Data dumps from museum collections (like the ANS and Berlin) have been migrated into the Nomisma ontology, as have RDF exports from online type corpora, like OCRE and CRRO. This involved updating Numishare's code to export in the new ontology (see for example), as well as update SPARQL queries and the XSLT for reading latitude and longitude in the new model for mints. Mints are now reckoned as concepts (carrying the skos:Concept class, as well as nmo:Mint) that may or may not have a spatial feature, linked with geo:location. The object links by the geo:location is a geo:SpatialThing which may either have a latitude and longitude or have geoJSON encapsulated in the osgeo:asGeoJson property. Complex shapes, represented as geoJSON, can be drawn in Nomisma's XForms-based editing interface (powered by Orbeon). geoJSON objects created in OpenLayers in the editing interface are extracted by Javascript and incorporated into the XForms engine.

The new features of this framework are almost two numerous to mention, but here is a synopsis:

  • IDs are available in their native RDF/XML, but also serialized into Turtle and JSON-LD. IDs for regions that may contain complex geoJSON polygons are exported in geoJSON-LD. These serializations are linked from the ID page. Data dumps of all IDs are available in these three serializations as well.
  • Spatial queries are supported by extending Fuseki to interact with a Solr index.
  • Much improved browse interface allows for additional filtering by roles of people/organizations and sorting. These filters can be applied to the Atom feed as well.
  • Content negotiation is supported for IDs, the SPARQL endpoint, and the browse page. See for more information about interacting with IDs and Solr. The SPARQL endpoint supports text/html, text/csv, text/plain, application/sparql-results+json, and application/sparql-results+xml.
  • RIC and RRC ids have been deprecated by Nomisma, as OCRE and CRRO maintain up-to-date and better quality versions. HTTP 303 See Other redirects are established for any ID that contains a dcterms:isReplacedBy property that links to something else. See
  • We have begun documenting the model and example SPARQL queries. The documentation will evolve to become more comprehensive in the coming months.
  • The system in general is far more stable and efficient now that RDF/XML has replaced XHTML documents. It reduces the need for additional transformation when delivering web services. More than 90% of HTTP requests for Nomisma content comes from machines (about 30,000 per day).