Thursday, September 1, 2016

Remainder of RIC 5 Published to OCRE

Nearly 4,000 more types from the latter portion of RIC 5 have been published to Online Coins of the Roman Empire, predominately from the Gallic Empire and usurper sections. With RIC 5 completed, this brings to total number of Roman Imperial coin types to nearly 42,000. David Wigg-Wolf will finish checking the RIC 9 spreadsheet very soon. We expect to complete the project by the end of September (months ahead of schedule).

In many ways we have already exceeded the specifications of the NEH grant-funded project. The coins from the University of Virginia and Berlin have recently or are currently being processed to link to these new types. The ANS coins will become available in OCRE in the near future (as early as tomorrow). By the time RIC 9 is published and our partner collections have been reprocessed to add in physical representations of these coin types, OCRE will be very close to exceeding 100,000 coins from museum and archaeological databases. The number of partners and coins has increased in the last year, and we expect this level of growth to continue for the foreseeable future, especially with some of the major numismatic collections coming online (e.g., Vienna and the Bibliotheque nationale de France).

Since we are poised to finish the original parameters of the project three months early, we are going to work on adding value to our data by linking architecture displayed on coins to either broad architectural typologies (e.g., temple, fountain) or specific, known monuments (Temple of Mars Ultor). I think that this will open the door to more sophisticated query and analysis of Roman architecture and its relation with official imperial political messages to society (both in Rome and the provinces).

We are also going to work on putting together a user interface that will make it easier to identify coins, a feature that will be useful to casual collectors, museum curators, and archaeologists working in the field.

Thursday, July 28, 2016 crosses 100,000 coin threshold

Following the publication of RIC 6, 7, 8, and 10 to Online Coins of the Roman Empire, I extracted over 18,000 coins with references to these volumes from the British Museum SPARQL endpoint (with this query) and successfully matched and imported about 17,000 of these into Nomisma's SPARQL endpoint. There are now about 80,000 physical coins linked to the 38,000 Roman imperial coin types in OCRE. I also reprocessed the Berlin LIDO export and published 1,000+ coins from late Roman coinage into OCRE.

This recent import has brought the total number of physical specimens linked to online type corpora (including Coinage of the Roman Republic Online and PELLA) to 116,964, about 98,000 of which come from the British Museum and American Numismatic Society alone. The number of coins has more than doubled in a year.

Technical Process

The XML response to the SPARQL query linked above was processed through a PHP script I wrote several days ago. The script iterates through each result in the XML document in order to parse the reference text with regular expressions in order to generate a type ID that conforms to the OCRE convention (e.g., ric.7.anch.109) and test to see whether the URI exists. The result of the concordance process is written as a CSV file, which is then processed by another PHP script into RDF conforming to the ontology. An additional SPARQL query is executed on the British Museum endpoint for each row in the table in order to extract the weight, diameter, image, etc. The RDF is written to disk and then imported into the Nomisma SPARQL endpoint, where the data are immediately available in OCRE.

Friday, July 22, 2016

ANS coins from RIC 6-10 published to OCRE, and other updates

Following the release of volumes 6, 7, 8, and 10 to OCRE, we have republished our coins from these volumes to link them into the newly-published coin type URIs. This represents an addition of more than 17,000 physical specimens of late Roman coinage into OCRE, including photographs for more than 3,000 of these (and photographic gaps from previous volumes of RIC). There are now 36,000 Roman imperial coins from the ANS collection in OCRE, and 60,000 in total from all our partners. Including CRRO and PELLA, there are just under 100,000 physical coins aggregated by's SPARQL endpoint.

In addition to these coins, the Portable Antiquities Scheme provided access to several hundred imperial coins linked to OCRE URIs. The PAS had previously linked its entire collection of Republican coins (nearly 1,000) into CRRO, but the inclusion of imperial material in OCRE is a watershed moment for the study of Roman numismatics. These are the first few hundred of potentially hundreds of thousands of coins published in their database, each with attested findspots. This will have a dramatic effect on geographic analysis of ancient monetary circulation and trade.

The Harvard Art Museums API was also reprocessed. Harvard's coverage of late Roman coinage is quite good, and their contribution to OCRE has more than doubled to 1,300 coins.

Update (July 25): We have also added 174 coins published by from the Domuztepe excavations into the Nomisma triplestore to make them available in OCRE. These are late Roman coins, predominately from RIC 7 and 8.

Monday, June 27, 2016

RIC 6, 7, 8, and 10 published to OCRE

After filling in gaps in Nomisma IDs necessary for the publication of RIC 10 (including the extension of Numishare to support the creation and publication of monogram URIs with images), we have pushed RIC 6, 7, 8, and 10 into Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE). The symbol publication extension of OCRE can be seen at Currently, each image is a PNG file, but will be replaced with SVG soon. We have developed a workflow to covert True Type Fonts representing Roman imperial numismatic symbols provided by Slovenian partners to SVG with a combination of the open source Linux tools, FontForge and Inkscape.

These four volumes represent a huge number of types, increases OCRE's types in excess of 13,000 up to a total that now exceeds 38,000. David Wigg-Wolf is working on the RIC 9 spreadsheet, and we hope to publish both that and the remainder of RIC 5 by the end of the year.

The next task for this OCRE update is to process several thousand images through our workflow and publish the coins in the ANS curatorial database that link to OCRE IDs into Mantis so that they will become available in OCRE via the SPARQL endpoint.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Archaeological Museum of Münster University joins Nomisma

Thanks to the outreach conducted by the Berlin Münzkabinett and the reuse of their curatorial database platform, the  Archaeological Museum of Münster University has been integrated into the consortium. There are a little over 40 coins that link to URIs for types published by CRRO, OCRE, and PELLA available so far. Those of you who use the Berlin database will recognize the similarity in the interface. Additionally, like the Berlin collection, the Münster database uses the same export mechanisms. I have updated my PHP scripts for processing Berlin's LIDO exports to make them more generalizable for the entire database framework so that I don't have to maintain multiple scripts for processing minutely different LIDO exports into Nomisma-compliant RDF. The script is available at

You can see an example of one of their coins at RRC 473/1, along with coins from the ANS, Berlin, Portable Antiquities Scheme, and the British Museum.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

OCRE now available in Polish

With thanks to Adam Degler, translations for NUDS element names and interface components have been incorporated in Numishare. I re-indexed Online Coins of the Roman Empire into Solr, which has made the search and browse interfaces available in Polish (for facets; type descriptions are still only available in English). The facets are derived from SKOS preferred labels from The Polish coverage of Nomisma IDs relevant to Roman Imperial coins is nearly complete. I also re-indexed Coinage of the Roman Republic Online. The interface is available in Polish as well, but the coverage of Republican entities is not as complete as the Imperial period.

Monday, April 18, 2016 Is Now a Functioning Pelagios Commons Hub

Given the interest of our partners (like Berlin and the Prehistory Museum of Valencia) in participating in the Pelagios Project, while perhaps lacking the funding to develop export scripts directly, I have extended the functionality of Nomisma to support exporting directly into the Pelagios Open Annotation RDF model. This was a fairly straightforward task which required two new XML pipelines in the Page Flow Controller in Orbeon: one for the VoID metadata RDF and one for the data dump (or dumps, since each dump is chunked into 5,000 coins).

The pipelines execute SPARQL queries that are piped through XSLT transformations into RDF. The VoID RDF aggregates subsets bound to the void:Datasets described in the Nomisma triplestore in order to provide descriptive metadata and license URLs for our partners (e.g., The data dumps execute a SPARQL query that generates a list of nmo:NumismaticObjects linked to mints implicitly by coin types (nmo:hasTypeSeriesItem). Since ancient mints defined on Nomisma are linked to URIs in the Pleiades Gazetteer of Ancient Places, it is fairly simple to make ancient coins that have been ingested into the Nomisma triplestore available in Pelagios.

I also updated the Pelagios icon on the front page of Nomisma.