Tuesday, October 25, 2016

RIC 9 published to OCRE

RIC volume 9 has been published to Online Coinage of the Roman Empire. This represents about 1,700 types and 3,200 subtypes. In total, there are now more than 43,000 Roman Imperial coin types in OCRE, spread over half a millennium from Augustus to Zeno. This was a huge undertaking with many collaborators from the ANS and DAI, as well as contributors of data from more than a dozen American and European cultural heritage institutions. Without generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, we may never have completed this project, which will officially come to a close in December. Since publishing the types to OCRE yesterday, I have begun the process of harvesting relevant coins from partner institutions. The British Museum alone has contributed an additional 11,600 RIC 9 coins to OCRE, and the total number of physical specimens linked into the project stands around 93,000. We hope to surpass 100,000 when the ANS and Fitzwilliam Museum coins are added soon.

While some more work remains in tying up loose ends regarding meeting every specification of the NEH grant (with respect to correcting reference numbers in our curatorial database and completing photographic coverage of our Imperial coinage), we are nearing the final phase of the project, which will draw to a close by the end of the year. Nevertheless, the project will continue to evolve in a variety of ways. We anticipate aggregating content from more partners, especially from the archaeological community. There are more than 200,000 Roman Imperial coins in the Portable Antiquities Scheme, but so far barely over 300 have been linked to OCRE URIs. I am continuing to build more sophisticated analysis and visualization interfaces. These advancements have been implemented directly in Nomisma.org, but I anticipate porting these code updates into OCRE and various other Numishare-based coin type projects. We also plan to unveil two new features by the end of this year: an intuitive coin type identification interface that non-specialists (collectors or archaeologists working in the field) might use to identity coins, and a faceted search function for architecture depicted on Roman coinage (which extends into Republican coins in CRRO).

While the NEH funding was instrumental in the development of OCRE specifically, the open source code and the workflows we developed for this project have had an impact on our ability to publish similar online type corpora. In 2015, we saw the release of Coinage of the Roman Republic Online and PELLA. Since the multilingual and visualization functionality are inherent to Numishare, our other projects benefit from the funding the NEH invested directly into OCRE. One of these, obviously, is the Egyptian National Library collection of Islamic coinage, which is available in both English and Arabic.

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