Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How to Participate in OCRE

I have recently been working on implementing a new approach to associating physical coins identified by RIC coin types defined in OCRE.  The new system uses a Fuseki RDF triplestore and SPARQL endpoint.  Fuseki accepts RDF expressing web pages which define physical coins, but it also accepts RDF which describes coin hoards.  While the public version of OCRE (as of the date of this blog post) does not interact with this new SPARQL endpoint, we plan to release a new version of OCRE in the next one to two months, probably either just before or just after the next round of Coin Find Network meetings in Carnuntum around April 20.

The more LOD-cognizant OCRE will incorporate coins not only from the American Numismatic Society, but also coins in the University of Virginia Art Museum, and perhaps even a small selection of Augustan coins from the Berlin M├╝nzkabinett.  Furthermore, hoards which contain Augustan types in Coin Hoards of the Roman Republican (a joint project between UCL researcher Kris Lockyear and the ANS) will populate OCRE maps for selected coin types.  OCRE will make use of mathematical functions inherent to SPARQL to deliver more sophisticated analyses based on weights, diameters, and die axes.

The triplestore-based method for linking OCRE types to coins and hoards make it much easier to maintain the project in the long term, from a developer's standpoint.  Moreover, it will be easier for potential partners to contribute their data to OCRE.  After the RDF passes consistency checks, new coins and hoards will become available in OCRE immediately upon ingestion into Fuseki.

I have created documentation on the ANS wiki detailing the RDF structure necessary for contributing to OCRE at

Finally, the new version of OCRE will make better use of Nomisma's multi-lingual skos:prefLabels for numismatic concepts.  As a result, OCRE will be available in French, German, and Romanian in addition to English.  The interface will become available in other languages as translations of NUDS fields and Nomisma IDs are presented to us.

Some preview screenshots: