Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nearly 2,000 Roman Imperial coins from the University of Graz integrated into Nomisma

After several weeks of working with Elisabeth Steiner at the University of Graz, a large portion of the collection of Roman coins at the Institute of Ancient History and Classical Antiquities has been integrated into the SPARQL endpoint and is available in OCRE and CRRO. About 300 Republican coins were initially ingested in October, but the coverage has extended by nearly 2,000 coins from the Imperial period. The collection includes images published according to the IIIF specification, which is rapidly becoming the standard API by which new partners make their images available online. Unlike most Nomisma contributors, where intermediary harvesting scripts transform source XML or CSV into Nomisma-compliant RDF, the University of Graz export is a direct serialization of TEI from their Fedora repository into RDF.

An antoninianus of Gordian III at the University of Graz

What's especially notable about this collection is that it was a successful demonstration of the new Numishare and OpenRefine reconciliation APIs for normalizing RIC references to OCRE URIs. The first step was to normalize mints, emperors, and denominations to Nomisma preferred labels, which were then used as additional property search parameters for normalizing the RIC numbers themselves to the relevant OCRE URI.

You can read more at:
These new reconciliation APIs are the topic of my CAA presentation and paper in two months in the tools session.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Fralin Museum coin collection leaps forward, embraces IIIF

The Fralin Museum at the University of Virginia numismatic collection has received a major functional update thanks to collaboration with the Libary's Information Technology group (particularly, Mike Durbin). The data and images at long last have been migrated into the university's institutional repository--the data have been updated to conform to the latest version of the NUDS schema (with TEI namespaced for bibliographic references) and the images are now available through IIIF web services. I have updated the record page code to use the Leaflet IIIF plugin, so all high resolution images are zoomable now.

Tetrachrachm of Antiochus available in SCO. 1990.18.8

As such, the IIIF service metadata are exposed in the RDF that is harvested into the SPARQL endpoint (according to the Europeana Data Model spec), and the zoomable images are available in OCRE, CRRO, PELLA, and now, Seleucid Coins Online, for which the Fralin has contributed one coin of Antiochus I thus far.

In total, 427 coins in the museum (more than 80%) are hooked into the broader ancient world linked data cloud, available not only through numismatic linked data systems, but also broader aggregations of ancient world materials from Pelagios Commons, to which the Fralin has contributed since at least 2012 or 2013.

A zoomable Fralin aureus of Hadrian displayed in OCRE.

As Seleucid and Ptolemaic Coins Online expand in the next few years as part of the broader NEH-funded Hellenistic Royal Coinages project, more Hellenistic coins from the Fralin will be linked in and made available to students and scholars of numismatics. Although the Fralin's collection is so small that no numismatist would travel there to conduct research (unlike the major collections of the American Numismatic Society and the British Museum), these coins and others from small university and civic museums can be made available for research, filling in gaps between larger collections and painting a more complete picture of the circulation of ancient coinage. Indeed, one of the Fralin's aurei of Trajan (a reissue of Tiberius) is unique among all collections contributing to OCRE, now totally 110,000 objects (RIC Trajan 821).

Other Updates

The version of Numishare running on the Scholars' Lab server is circa spring 2013, predating the migrating from the now-defunct Apache Cocoon to Orbeon. There's virtually no way of testing code changes locally, and so I had to roll the dice on very minor updates on the Scholars' Lab test server. These updates included the implementation of the Leaflet IIIF libraries, as well as some minor changes to the map function to fix a glitch with deprecated URLs for the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire's Imperium Romanum baselayer in OpenLayers. I also replaced the Google Maps physical layer with one published by Mapbox. I'd migrate from OpenLayers to Leaflet entirely, but ideally, the entire platform should be migrated to the current version of Numishare.

A link to the record in Virgo (the online library catalog) has also been added into the record. This URI is stored within the NUDS control as an otherRecordId[@semantic='rdfs:seeAlso'], and therefore comes through in the RDF in the rdfs:seeAlso property.

University of Freiburg joins Nomisma

The coin cabinet of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg is the latest member of the NUMiD consortium to join the Nomisma project and make its coins available through OCRE and CRRO. The number of cataloged specimens made available in OCRE and CRRO stands at 100 so far, but this comprises only a small portion of the total collection of more than 12,000 objects.

About the collection:
The Seminar of Ancient History holds more than 12,000 coins of the Roman Imperial period and Late Antiquity. Their majority originates from a collection which Herbert Nesselhaus, the former Professor of Ancient History, was able to purchase in 1961 from the Archbishopric of Freiburg. The collection had found a temporary home there some twenty years earlier: Between 1900 and 1926 the Geheimer Oberbaurat Heinrich Wefels from Erlangen built a collection of c. 14,000 coins, which he had acquired at various auctions. About 10,300 are coins of Roman emperors and an additional 2,400 represent provincial issues. Wefels focussed on the Imperial period, but did add both earlier and later coinages, too. About 950 Byzantine coins, 360 Roman Republican ones, 220 Greek issues, and 22 Celic coins bear witness to these secondary areas of interest. Although the Seminar für Alte Geschichte is not any longer able to purchase additional coins, its collection was augmented through generous donations by Herbert A. Cahn, Otto Feld and Gerold Walser. Today the collection is complemented by a scientific numismatic library, which again originates in the collector Heinrich Wefels.

 An example coin can be found at Augustus 252.