Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Improved Visualization: Comparing Queries

Recently, I began working on improved analytical mechanisms for coin hoards in Numishare.  These have not yet been completed (and so I will post about them later), but I put hoard work on hold for a few days to implement improved analyses for coin and coin type collections.  The updates can be seen in the Visualize page in OCRE.

The new features allow for selection of different graph types, numeric results in percentage of total or total count, custom queries (in addition to facets), and comparisons with other queries.

These visualization parameters are stored in URL parameters RESTfully, so it is possible to bookmark and share the charts that you generate with others.

Documentation: http://wiki.numismatics.org/numishare:visualize


Percentage of a selection of denominations issued by the emperors ranging from Augustus to Antoninus Pius in OCRE. Hadrian issued nearly 60% of all cistophori; Claudius issued about 40% of all didrachms and Nero issued nearly half (http://bit.ly/11xQMvH:

Comparison of Augustan coins which reference the Parthian settlement with Augustan references to Actium (http://bit.ly/TLJPRh):

Monday, November 19, 2012

New APIs introduced to Numishare

Over the last week or two, I have devoted some time to developing a systematic (and documented) set of APIs for querying and extracting data from Numishare.  These advances have been applied to OCRE already and will be available in the new version of Mantis, due out in the near future.  Moreover, since I have heard one or two requests about actually downloading data en masse from Mantis, I developed a rather simple PHP script which allows the user to do this.  The PHP script has been added to the Numishare codebase in tools/get-ids.php.  The comments of the script contain the basic execution instructions.

Documentation for Search API: http://wiki.numismatics.org/numishare:search

Documentation for Get API: http://wiki.numismatics.org/numishare:get

The Search API documentation details the two response formats (Atom and RSS) and the Lucene query Syntax (since the search results are derived from Solr).  Most importantly, the wiki lists all of the fields which are used for searching and sorting and their data types, as well as several usage examples.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Antoninus Pius added to OCRE

Today, the American Numismatic Society is pleased to announce that all coin types of Antoninus Pius from Roman Imperial Coinage (RIC) have been added to Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE).  This increases the total by 2,054 to 10,536 imperial coin types from 27 B.C. to A.D. 161.

Monday, July 16, 2012

OCRE – A major new tool for Roman numismatics

Today, in collaboration with New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, the ANS launches a major new tool to aid in the identification, research and cataloging of the coins of the ancient world.

OCRE (Online Coins ofthe Roman Empire) is an attempt to present, in an easily searchable form, all the varieties of the coinage issued by the emperors of ancient Rome. Phase 1, which is launched today, covers the coinage of the first emperors, from Augustus to Hadrian (27 BC – AD 138).

The site presents a basic description of each published variety based on the ANS’ collection catalogue (MANTIS). Each of these type descriptions is linked to specimens present in the ANS collection and, where available, to images. Searches are made straightforward through a series of facets, presented in a way that will already be familiar to users of other ANS search tools.

Traditional searches of familiar numismatic categories such as obverse and reverse legends and types are provided, in the hope that OCRE will provide an identification tool useful to collectors, dealers, curators and field archaeologists.

Subject searches have also been provided to allow more general researchers to find personifications, deities and portraits.

“OCRE is yet another example of the way that the ANS is both presenting numismatic material to those knowledgeable in the field, as well as expanding the accessibility of numismatic material to broader audiences”, notes ANS Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan. “Building on years of curatorial work to catalogue our coins, we hope that our new web-based tools will make that work available to as broad an audience as possible, in as flexible a way as possible”.

ANS database developer Ethan Gruber, who built OCRE, explains how it has been designed from the beginning to use a Linked Data approach to deliver added functionality: “OCRE is built on Numishare, an open source suite of applications for managing and publishing numismatic collections on the web.  The underlying data model of the collection is the Numismatic Description Standard (NUDS), a linked data-influenced XML ontology for coins.  NUDS enables the linking of coin types in OCRE to numismatic concepts represented on Nomisma.org as well as linking to web resources that describe physical specimens, such as those in the ANS' own collection.  Data about these specimens –images, weights, findspots–can be extracted for statistical and geographic analyses in OCRE.” A key element in the design has also been to link other stable resources describing the ancient world, such as Pleiades project for ancient geography.

OCRE project manager and Roman specialist, Gilles Bransbourg describes the advance that is heralded by OCRE: “OCRE is a leap forward for numismatists, historians and archaeologists alike. Until now, any research into Roman imperial coinage had to rely on paper-based catalogues, online auctions or the very few collections available online. OCRE offers a single, central online catalogue that allows users to view, download and organize digitized information covering the entire history of the Roman imperial coinage. The attraction of OCRE is that it is built as an open system. Any significant public or private collection may now link to OCRE and make its coins available to the wider public. Coin types will be connected to a growing number of examples from an ever-expanding number of sources. The digitized availability of relevant information like weights, modules, materials, legends, images, issuers, mints, location of find, and finally pictures, opens vast fields of research in many different directions and will hopefully inspire other areas in numismatics and beyond.”


Other ANS research tools:

MANTIS (the collection database): http://numismatics.org/search
ARCHER (the archives database): http://numismatics.org/archives/
DONUM (the library catalogue): http://donum.numismatics.org/

Monday, May 14, 2012

A New Approach to Coin Hoard Documentation

For several months, we have been hard at work developing an XML representation of coin hoard documentation.  The data model, a derivative/relation of NUDS-XML (thus also influenced by other formats such as EAD and RDF), is still very much a draft, but one constantly growing in stability. It is, in theory, capable of meeting the requirements of various institutions.  Groups of coins can be encoded by general typologies, e.g., total number of denarii or total coins of a particular issuer or material.  Groups of coins can point to nomisma ids for specific coin-types, like RRC or RIC numbers.  Individual coins can also be described by precise physical measurements or attributes--counterstamps, weights, diameters--or point to URIs that represent those physical specimens online.

Let us examine the following XML snippet:

Coins and coinGrps can include any NUDS element from the descMeta--Physical, Typological, Reference Descriptions, etc.  Like in NUDS, the nuds:typeDesc can point to a URI (in this case, a nomisma ID) with the semantic xlink:href attribute (very much like METS, EAD, EAC-CPF, and other XML standards).

A coin hoard may contain hundreds of distinct coin-types, but if these coin types are represented by nomisma IDs, the typological attributes do not need to be encoded directly within the hoard XML document.  This not only enables the hoard documents to be fairly compact and concise, but also removes the burden of upkeep from the editors of hoard records, since the nomisma IDs are considered canonical representations of coin-type metadata.

When rendering the hoard XML document into HTML, Numishare can parse the RDF from the nomisma ID dynamically to render the following output:

The hoard contents are formatted in a table similar to what numismatists are accustomed, but rows can be expanded to see the full typological description, with links to nomisma, Wikipedia, and Pleiades.  The format of this descriptive information is identical to that of physical coins and coin-types because the code is, in fact, identical.  The closing date of the hoard can be established by parsing this collection of coin-type metadata even if the dates are not stored directly in the hoard record.  The disadvantage of this framework, of course, is that it is more processor intensive than querying and rendering data stored directly in a database.  It may take several seconds to render a large hoard document into HTML, but I think the advantages of this framework far outweigh the disadvantages.

In addition to rather simple output of descriptive metadata is a feature for quantitative analysis.  This feature is very powerful, though rudimentary, having been developed in only two work days.  It will grow in its sophistication over time.

Like coin-types, there is a quantitative analysis tab on the web page for a hoard record.  The user can select from a handful of typological attributes to generate bar graphs. We are using highcharts for this instead of jQuery visualize, like other visualizations in Numishare.  I have found it to be far more versatile, and we will eventually replace jQuery visualize with highcharts everywhere in Numishare.

Highcharts is capable of other chart and graph formats, different colors, and outputting a printable chart.  I have only begun to explore these options.

The next major task to pursue is to output findspot points to the map on the hoard record HTML page.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Numismatic Description Standard: A Draft

A number of blog posts have mentioned NUDS-XML, our approach to interpreting the Numismatic Database Standard fields listed by Sebastian Heath on nomisma.org as an XML data model.  NUDS-XML (which could be called "Numismatic Description Standard" since it is not technically a database schema) is an ontology applied to numismatic metadata, influenced by existing metadata standards like EAD, METS, and VRA Core, but also largely reliant on linked open data philosophies.  Many numismatic concepts can be linked to resources on nomisma.org through W3C xlink attributes.

While NUDS is still a draft and has not been codified in the form of XSD or Relax NG schemas, it is stable enough for development.  Numishare is designed to create, edit, and publish NUDS records for physical coins and conceptual coin-type objects.

Draft documentation for NUDS is now available through the ANS's wiki.


Linking Roman Coins: Current Work at the American Numismatic Society

Several of the American Numismatic Society's current projects are going to be demonstrated at CAA 2012, to be held in Southampton, England next week.  CAA, Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, is an interesting conferences that draws as many archaeologists as computer and information scientists, including many alt-ac people like myself who are a hybrid of the two fields.

Below is one of the slideshows that we will be presenting.

It introduces nomisma.org and details our use of NUDS-XML and Numishare to create an open-access web-based version of Roman Imperial Coinage.  The demo is available at http://admin.numismatics.org/ocre.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quantitative Analysis of Coin-Types

Among the American Numismatic Society's current projects is Online Coins of the Rome Empire (OCRE), which is a free, open-access catalog of Roman Imperial Coins.  Each coin type numbered in RIC will be represented with a nomisma URI.  A NUDS XML record will describe the typological attributes of the coin-type, as well as link to associated physical objects in various collections (Mantis, to start).  An early Numishare blog post describes this feature in more detail.  We will be presenting a prototype of OCRE at CAA in March (abstract).  The OCRE project not only provides stable URIs for coin-types, but also a user interface for searching, browsing, and mapping Roman Imperial Coins in the same manner of Mantis.

Since a coin-type record can point to related coins in other collections, Numishare can extract physical attributes of those coins, as well as findspots (if available).  The Solr index, for example, will ingest all of the weights of associated physical coins to ascertain the average weight and standard deviation for a coin-type.  The accuracy of these measurements improves proportionally to the number of coins from which the weights are derived.

Numishare currently supports comparing the average weight of a particular coin type to the average weights of associated facets, e.g., by the same authority, denomination, or material across the entire collection.  Eventually, it will support user-set queries: compare RIC Augustus 410 (a silver denarius) with other silver coins of Augustus and with silver coins of the late 3rd century AD.  These sorts of quantitative analyses will no doubt serve as a great resource to numismatists and ancient historians.

The general distribution of Numishare supports a quantitative analysis tab for coin-type records that have associated weight measurements.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Kittredge Collection Gets a Facelift

The Kittredge Collection relaunched Sunday evening.  The Kittredge Numismatic Foundation was an early sponsor of Numishare directly after it had been released to the community as an open-source project and a proponent of many of its early features, including the XForms-based backend.  The data has been migrated to NUDS from Encoded Archival Description (for coins) and disseminated with the latest version of Numishare.  The data is still a work in progress; mints point to geonames.org URIs, while materials and object types point to nomisma.org URIs, but much work is left to be done to point other numismatic concepts to unique identifiers.

The Kittredge Collection contains all of the latest mapping and linked open data features detailed in this blog, as well some new additions--particularly the expandable date facet on the browse page that allows the user to select coins by century and decade (example: http://kittredgecollection.org/results?q=%28decade_num%3A1650+OR+decade_num%3A1670+OR+decade_num%3A1690%29).  This feature was ported over from EADitor.