Tuesday, December 15, 2020

First Celtic numismatics Nomisma concepts have been minted

The first of many Celtic numismatic concepts yet to come have been added in Nomisma.org, as part of the Ancient British Coinage (ABC) and Celtic Coins Index projects that are being published by the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Oxford and overseen by Courtney Nimura. These include regions, rulers, and political entities pertinent to Celtic coinage in Britain. Celtic concepts from continental Europe will be published as part of a separate project. The ABC typology will go online by the end of this year or early 2021, with photographic coverage of all Celtic types. The Celtic Coins Index will be published online as an interlinked specimen catalog in 2021, and other numismatic collections (such as the American Numismatic Society) will contribute relevant material as they begin cataloging in new ABC URIs. The ABC type corpus will be published in the Numishare platform and function much like existing projects, like Online Coins of the Roman Empire and Hellenistic Royal Coinages.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Roman Republican Die Project: Nomisma LOD models + IIIF annotation for die studies

By now, you might have heard of the launch of the Roman Republican Die Project (RRDP), overseen by Liv Yarrow and Lucia Carbone, and technically organized/developed by myself. This project represents a leap forward into a new Linked Open Data approach to numismatic die studies that had not yet been implemented in the Nomisma.org ecosystem. RRDP consists of several interlinked databases that form a cohesive research platform for Roman Republican die links, based on the massive accumulation of Richard Schaefer's coin cards and binders we published to Archer earlier this summer. The prototype for RRDP includes the dies and annotated coins only for RRC 15/1a and 15/1b so far, but we will expand to include all Republican types over the next few years. Here is a summary of the individual components that comprise RRDP.

  • The RRDP stand-alone site where all of the die URIs will be minted. Each die record will include a network graph and table of links and numeric counts for the die to the related obverse/reverse dies, as well as the obverse or reverse images that have been annotated (see IIIF annotation, below) with that die ID (the linkage is more precisely image URL->coin->obverse/reverse node->die ID).
  • Coinage of the Roman Republic Online will probably serve as the primary entry point to die research on the type level. CRRO has been extended to query the Nomisma.org SPARQL endpoint in order to read a list of die combinations and numeric counts (based on the total number of annotated coins so far, so this number will evolve as we continue to enter data!) and a network graph of obverse and reverse die links. RRC 15/1b has the most extensive graph of the two subtypes annotated in the prototype. You can click from these graphs and tables to view the record and visualizations for individual dies in the RRDP platform.
    Graph for RRC 15/1b

  • The ANS has launched a stand-alone database of auction catalog materials or collections that are not yet contributors in the Nomisma.org LOD ecosystem. A sort of "mirror" of the ANS database, MANTIS, SITNAM is a Numishare site with identical functionality intended, at the moment, to hold coins from Schaefer's clippings. It will eventually be used to publish private materials ad hoc for other digital aggregation projects. Like MANTIS, the numismatic RDF for SITNAM is exported into Nomisma.org's SPARQL endpoint, making these coins available in CRRO in the same manner as other collections. The coverage of RRC 15/1b has grown about 500% with the inclusion of Schaefer's binders. There are approximately 300,000 Republican coins in Schaefer's research materials, which will dramatically increase the coverage in CRRO (currently 50,000 coins from 40 museums or archaeological datasets). Many of Schaefer's coins include measurements, such as weight, that will enhance the research value of CRRO even beyond the die linking.
  • The die links themselves. The die IDs are not stored within the metadata for an individual specimen, but rather stand separately in a Nomisma model that integrates some properties from CIDOC-CRM that will enable multiple scholars to make different die attributions about the same coins, with each scholar's attributions bound to a Named Graph when posted into the Nomisma SPARQL endpoint. For example: 
@prefix nmo: <http://nomisma.org/ontology#> .
@prefix rdf: <http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#> .
@prefix crm: <http://www.cidoc-crm.org/cidoc-crm/> .
@prefix void: <http://rdfs.org/ns/void#> .

  a <http://nomisma.org/ontology#NumismaticObject> ;
  nmo:hasObverse [ nmo:hasDie [
      rdf:value <http://numismatics.org/rrdp/id/rrc-15.1.o.1> ;
      crm:P141i_was_assigned_by [
        a crm:E13_Attribute_Assignment ;
        crm:P14_carried_out_by <http://nomisma.org/editor/rschaefer>
    ] ] ;
  nmo:hasReverse [ nmo:hasDie [
      rdf:value <http://numismatics.org/rrdp/id/rrc-15.1.r.1> ;
      crm:P141i_was_assigned_by [
        a crm:E13_Attribute_Assignment ;
        crm:P14_carried_out_by <http://nomisma.org/editor/rschaefer>
    ] ] ;
  void:inDataset <http://numismatics.org/rrdp/> .

The above TTL binds an existing ANS URI http://numismatics.org/collection/1969.83.3 to an obverse and reverse with an nmo:hasDie blank node with an attribute assignment linking to a die URI attested by Schaefer. This annotation would be posted to the SPARQL endpoint to a Named Graph for http://nomisma.org/editor/rschaefer. Numishare has been extended submit SPARQL queries to Nomisma for die relationships for the type or individual die level. The network visualization uses d3plus (a simplified layer for d3js); the SPARQL results are serialized into JSON for display in d3plus.

It is important to note that the canonical coin URI is stored in our specimen spreadsheet so that duplicate coins are not published to SITNAM. Therefore, when generating the die link RDF, we are able to make statements about existing coin URIs at a Named Graph that do not interfere with the collection-published RDF from the institution that contributed the data into Nomisma. For example, RRDP RRC 15/1 obverse die G will include two coins from SITNAM and one from the ANS, because Schaefer has made a statement about an ANS coin, and we can rely on the ANS's high resolution IIIF images rather than the scans of paper cut-outs.

Schaefer RRC 15/1 Obverse G

IIIF Annotation

It is important to preserve the Schaefer binders as archival research documents in their own right, complete with notes and labels, and so it will be possible to navigate from a specimen in SITNAM to its annotated binder page in Archer.

Since these binders have already been published to Archer, with the images served through our IIIF image server (and therefore, each binder has a IIIF manifest), I have deployed Simple Annotation Server, which is a bootstrapped version of Mirador connected to the latest version of Apache Solr (as the annotation store), running as a Tomcat webapp. Unique IDs for binder specimens are generated in a Google sheet, and then the obverse and reverse images for that coin are annotated with the ID appended with _obv or _rev. 

Annotating individual coins via IIIF

When processing the specimen spreadsheet for publication into SITNAM, my script reads the Solr index and extracts the annotation location and dimensions from the Web Annotation JSON-LD in order to store a IIIF URL pattern for the jpeg for each side of the coin, e.g., http://images.numismatics.org/archivesimages%2Farchive%2Fschaefer.rrdp.b01_0098.jpg/285,1332,476,515/full/0/default.jpg (for http://numismatics.org/sitnam/id/87c989a1). SITNAM links back to the relevant binder page in Archer. Eventually, the Mirador viewer in Archer itself will be plugged into these annotations in the front end, making it possible to navigate from binder pages back to SITNAM or, if applicable, the canonical URI for that coin in its home collection database.

Future Plans

RRDP has received $115,000 or so from the Arete Foundation to complete the project over the next few years. The ANS is going to hire a full-time employee to work on data entry and annotation, and as more coins go into the system, the more accurate and complete the network graphs and metrical analyses become. 

While the current visualizations in CRRO and RRDP are based on die->coin->type relationships alone, it is possible to increase the complexity of these SPARQL queries to dive into the descriptions of the types or other attributes of coins (for example, hoards or findspots). So it will be possible to display die linkages not just for a type, but, for example, all denarii minted from 100-75 BC or all types issued by the same moneyer, or die links for only those coins found in Britain (as recorded in the Portable Antiquities Scheme). As we begin to accumulate more data in RRDP (beyond RRC 15/1), I will begin providing more research examples and building out more sophisticated query interfaces in the RRDP platform. This is really just the tip of the iceberg for what will be possible in this new LOD-oriented die study infrastructure.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Deprecating TimeMap for Leaflet for type/hoard maps

At long last, I have decided to replace the TimeMap library that combined an OpenLayers map with the SIMILE Timeline widget. This library has been a part of OCRE (and other type corpora) since the earliest phase of the project (late 2012/early 2013) to display the geographic distribution of hoards related to a coin type, with a timeline of hoard closing dates. Scrolling through this timeline forces hoards to appear or disappear on the map. This form of visualization has a useful function in that it might show patterns of hoards appearing in particular locations in the same time period. However, most researchers want to see all of the hoards visible on the map at once by default, and there was no way to turn on or off the appearing and disappearing of findspots when scrolling the timeline.


TimeMap: only a few hoards visible at once for RRC 50/2.


RRC 50/2: all hoards are visible in Leaflet/GeoJSON


The GeoJSON for a coin type now includes Features for each hoard, conforming to Karl Grossner's GeoJSON-T extension for date ranges for the closing date. Ideally, I would like these closing dates to be represented as a histogram rather than a timeline, as demonstrated by a prototype of WebMaps-T here. This, I believe, is a more useful visualization of of the temporal distribution of coin types. WebMaps-T is not quite ready for production yet, but I have moved forward with deprecating TimeMap, replacing it with a Leaflet map that simply shows all hoards as points, without respect to their temporal component. This at least fulfills the primary research use case: showing all of the hoards simultaneously on the map.

Monday, August 31, 2020

First pass at mapping Nomisma.org to Linked Art JSON-LD

I have made some updates to both Numishare and Nomisma.org's back-ends to facilitate improved and more consistent content negotiation. I have applied a Content-Language header to the response for coin/type pages in Numishare, based on whether the language passed via request parameter (?lang) or content negotiation by the browser settings (Accept-Language) is present within the Numishare translations. 

More importantly, though, is that the Link header has been added into the requests for coin/type URIs in Numishare (as well as the browse page, because a user can request the Atom XML or untransformed Solr XML via content negotiation). The Link headers have also been applied to the URI for any concept or concept scheme in Nomisma.org. 

This follows examples established W3C Content Negotiation by Profile draft.

A `curl -I` of a URI includes a a Link to itself as a text/html resource with rel="canonical", but it will also include a list of other comma separated  rel="alternate" resources found at the same URI, but with an array of acceptable content types (different serializations of RDF, the NUDS/XML document, KML, and/or GeoJSON) and, in some cases, an additional profile URI. 


Requesting headers for http://nomisma.org/id/rome

For most serializations of RDF that are available (RDF/XML, Turtle, and JSON-LD), the profile URI is set to http://nomisma.org/ontology#, to reflect the Nomisma data model for coins, types, and SKOS concepts. Another JSON-LD serialization is available in the Linked Art profile, https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json. It is now possible to request this profile for a Nomisma concept through content negotiation, e.g.:

curl -H "Accept: application/ld+json;profile=\"https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json\""

Content negotiation was already possible in Numishare, but now the Link headers indicate to a script or robot that additional content types and profiles are available for consumption.

The Nomisma.org Linked Art JSON-LD follows the spec for People and Organizations (including dynasties) and Places. For other types of concepts in Nomisma, they are defined generally as crm:E55_Type, but are not distinguished further by material, denomination, object type, etc. We will implement these classifications as they are documented in the Linked Art specification. Here's a representation of Seleucus I according to this model: https://gist.github.com/ewg118/8ccab36087a42b71ef15ece7b160f09a. This includes the preferred label in English, the English definition, matching URIs, and memberships in the Seleucid Empire and Seleucid Dynasty. A further conneg request of the latter two URIs include further context about those organizations, including the formation and dissolution dates.

In theory, a parser capable of reading Linked Art JSON-LD for a Human Made Object (for example, a coin in our collection) can crawl from the object data into any associated Nomisma.org concept. A parser can request the HEAD for a Nomisma URI, read that a serialization for the Linked Art profile exists, request the data via content negotiation for the content type and profile, and then harvest or display additional contextual information about the entities related to the object.

I got these serializations up and running in about a day, and my next tasks will be to copy and paste these new functions into Kerameikos.org's back-end and xEAC, so that it will be possible to serialize EAC-CPF archival authorities into Linked Art JSON-LD for broader reuse in Linked Open Data systems.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

About 3,000 BnF coins linked to Coin Hoards

I recently received an update from Julien Olivier at the Bibliothèque nationale de France of coins linked to Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards URIs from the Coin Hoards project. About 3,000 of more than 10,000 Greek coins now link to hoard URIs, about a third of which are Hellenistic coins that were already published through Hellenistic Royal Coinages. A further 2,000 or so were not connected to coin type URIs, and are therefore newly integrated into the Nomisma.org numismatic Linked Open Data ecosystem. In total, these 3,000 coins link to 95 hoards.

One of the hoards the BnF's collection covers most prominently is the Auriol Hoard (IGCH 2352), a large Archaic hoard found near Marseilles, France in 1867. It consists mainly of coins from the Greek colony of Massilia itself. This particular hoard draws 651 specimens from several collections, about 500 of which are held by the BnF.

This particular hoard is briefly mentioned in a section in Sidney Noe's 1920 Coin Hoards, which was digitized and published in the ANS Digital Library as part of the NEH-Mellon Foundation Open Humanities Book Program. The link to digital archival or bibliographic resources is under the specimen list.

Coincidentally, a proof-of-concept ID for the Auriol Hoard (http://nomisma.org/id/auriol_hoard) had been created in Nomisma.org very early in the project's history (by 2011), even though it also existed in Nomisma.org as an IGCH URI. This morning, I deprecated this ID and forwarded it to its Coin Hoards URI (by inserting a dcterms:isReplacedBy URI into the RDF that will generate an HTTP 303 See Other redirect in Nomisma's software architecture).

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

MK Berlin fully linked to Antigonid Coins Online, plus updates

Karsten Dahmen at the Münzkabinett Berlin has fully cataloged all of their coins of Demetrius Poliorcetes with the newly-published URIs from Antigonid Coins Online, which is based on Edward T. Newell's 1927 corpus. There are 119 in total from Berlin, accompanying more than 400 coins from 10 other museums. One of the most diversely represented types is Demetrius 22, which is linked to eight specimens in five museums, including three coins from Berlin.

In addition to the expansion of Berlin's coverage, some other minor fixes have occurred within the underlying data: some updates to type descriptions or other minor errors in transcription.

Monday, August 3, 2020

First steps made in the normalization of the ANS Islamic department

Following some recent upgrades to our data consistency in MANTIS in the linking of many Greek names to Nomisma URIs, I have run a first-pass cleanup of entities that appear in the authority fields in the ANS' internal curatorial FileMaker Pro database. As part of the Egyptian National Library project, a large number of Islamic rulers, dynasties, and corporate bodies were created to cover the range of entities in the ENL's collection. This work was largely undertaken by Jere Bacharach.

Recently, I attempted to run the ANS's list of names that appear in the Authority facet in MANTIS against the Nomisma.org OpenRefine reconciliation API. I have successfully matched more than 300 labels within our database to Nomisma URIs. In some cases, a single entity was represented by more than one string in our database, and so we have made some noticeable improvements in consistency. We have also filtered out any value from FileMaker that is obviously not useful. For example, several hundred three-digit number codes had been inputted. Current curatorial staff is not even aware of what these codes correspond to, and so there's really no point in publishing these values into MANTIS.

1930.168.89, an Ilkhanid coin

1930.168.89 in Arabic

Nearly all of the Nomisma URIs for people link to dynasties or corporate entities, which have been indexed into MANTIS in a "State" facet. We plan to review the relationships between these entities, as dynasties and corporate bodies have been conflated in Nomisma, and we should split these into two separate classes of concept. For example, the "Abbasids" (http://nomisma.org/id/abbasids) carry a definition that corresponds more to a corporate entity, e.g., the Abbasid Caliphate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbasid_Caliphate). An Abbasid Dynasty entity should also be created in Nomisma to connect rulers together by means of familial relationships, but individual governors operate under the authority of the Caliphate without being relatives in the Dynasty. An additional benefit of these entities being connected to Nomisma URIs is that translations for all of them are available in Arabic, among other languages.

The cleanup is done in an independent PHP script that processes CSV exported from FileMaker into NUDS XML for publication into Numishare. An intermediate lookup table is implemented by matching a value the relevant field in FileMaker to a key in a Google spreadsheet in order to extract a Nomisma URI in another column, if available. About 300 of 2,500 total lines have been matched to URIs. But this will be a jumping off point for doing more comprehensive cleanup and Nomisma ID creation later, as we migrate into CollectiveAccess.

Monday, July 27, 2020

126 BnF coins integrated into Antigonid Coins Online

One hundred twenty-six coins from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, recently cataloged by Julien Olivier, have been incorporated into the newly-released Antigonid Coins Online (AGCO), which so far includes the coinage of Demetrius Poliorcetes. Roughly a dozen of these coins were already accessible through AGCO upon its launch since a handful of the coins of Demetrius are cross-linked with posthumous issues in the name of Alexander the Great in PELLA (related specimens are displayed in Numishare when they link directly to a type URI or implied to be the same via skos:exactMatch).

A BnF example of Demetrius 51

There are now 433 total specimens connected to the 182 types of Demetrius Poliorcetes. Two-thirds of the types are connected to at least one physical specimens, and about 40% (77 types) of the corpus links to at least one photographed coin. This number will grow, as the majority of the ANS' coins of Demetrius have not been photographed yet.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

ANS launches the first phase of Antigonid Coins Online

After soft-launching last week to give our partners (in the NUMiD consortium, particularly!) a chance to begin cataloging coinage, we are formally announcing the release of Antigonid Coins Online. The first phase of this project includes 182 types of Demetrius Poliorcetes from Edward T. Newell's The Coinages of Demetrius Poliorcetes (1927). We will, in time, introduce typologies for the remaining kings of this Successor dynasty.

At this juncture, it includes more than 300 coins from 11 collections, from both large and small museums. Currently, the handful of coins from the British Museum and Bibliotheque nationale de France are connected to typologies from PELLA that are the same coin type. Karsten Dahmen began cataloging Berlin's coins of Demetrius almost immediately, and a few German university museums soon followed. I updated my script for harvesting Newell references from Harvard Art Museums as well as added another dozen from MFA Boston into the master spreadsheet, which I also reprocessed from a script I had written early. The first coin of Demetrius harvested into Nomisma was actually from the Fralin Museum at the University of Virginia, since I still maintain that project. A further 200 or so were cataloged by Lauren Tomanelli, before she departed the ANS to pursue her archaeology PhD at the University of Arizona, and Peter van Alfen, who referred to the trays for those coins not yet photographed.

Demetrius 159

Additionally, Lauren drew 26 new monograms that are unique (thus far) to the coinage of Demetrius Poliorcetes, while also inserting URIs to monograms from PELLA and PCO into the types, when it is apparent they symbols are semantically identical. These coins now appear in the Hellenistic Royal Coinages union typology, and are available for comparative queries of measurements, geographic distribution, etc. The HRC project was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Antigonid Coins Online was not part of the original set of deliverables for HRC, but as in many of our grant-funded projects, we always exceed expectations.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Initial Binders of Richard Schaefer's Roman Republican Die Study Now Online

Richard Schaefer has undertaken the most comprehensive die study of Roman Republican coinage, a process that has taken many years, and has culminated in 14 binders of pasted coin photographs and annotations, in addition to loose clippings stored a series of boxes.

Lucia Carbone and Liv Mariah Yarrow have supervised the digitization of these resources as part of the Roman Republican Die Project (RRDP). This entails not only scanning the images of the binders and clippings, but also the creation of spreadsheets for each RRC type, including a listing of each obverse and reverse die, and a number of occurrences for each die. Eventually these statistical data will be published and made accessible through Coinage of the Roman Republic Online (CRRO). In this initial phase of the project, we are aiming to publish the binders and the clippings, assembled as TEI files of facsimile images, published the the ANS archival platform, Archer and linked to CRRO.

Interface for Schaefer's RRDP Binder 1

This method of publication is similar to the Newell notebooks of coin hoards that we digitized and annotated for Hellenistic Royal Coinages in that the images are published through our IIIF server and the TEI file is serialized into a IIIF JSON-LD manifest for display in Mirador. The difference is that the page images in the RRDP are not (yet) annotated, but the pages still correspond to one or more RRC URIs published in CRRO. In order to link individual pages URIs in a manner that can be expressed in our implementation of OpenAnnotation RDF, I made some code updates to support the use of the @facs TEI attribute that points each term to a facsimile @xml:id:

  <classCode scheme="http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/">300264354</classCode>
  <keywords scheme="nmo:TypeSeriesItem">
    <term ref="http://numismatics.org/crro/id/rrc-97.1b" 
      facs="#schaefer_097-1b_b05_p001-0">RRC 97/1b</term>
    <term ref="http://numismatics.org/crro/id/rrc-354.1" 
      facs="#schaefer_354-1_b05_p002">RRC 354/1</term>
    <term ref="http://numismatics.org/crro/id/rrc-354.1" 
      facs="#schaefer_354-1_b05_p003-0">RRC 354/1</term>

The coin types appear in the index terms underneath the page turner, similar to the Newell notebooks. I made some additional code updates to EADitor (the framework on which Archer is built) to read term URIs in order to index them into the search engine more effectively, creating new Hoard and Coin Type facet lists in the browse page.

Archer browse page with new Coin Type facet (includes HRC types from Newell notebooks)

So far we have published Schaefer's 14 binders to Archer, but the clippings images (organized in batches of 100 RRC numbers) will be published by the end of this month or in early August. That will conclude the first phase of publication, enabling the seamless interoperability between these archival documents and RRC types published in CRRO. Like other typology projects published in Numishare, CRRO's configuration has been updated to interact with Archer's SPARQL endpoint, making these resources available directly in CRRO's user interface.

Binder 1, as it appears in RRC 302/1

The next phase will entail minting URIs for each distinct obverse and reverse die in a new standalone Numishare project, and making some code updates to support the publication of dies and linking to types.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Significant data improvement made to ANS Greek department

Last week, as I begin to transition from the basically-completed Hellenistic Royal Coinages project to publishing the Roman Republican Die Project, I took a few hours to dump a list of names that appear as authorities in the ANS's Greek department and reconcile them against Nomisma.org's API in OpenRefine.

Of the roughly 1,000 names that appear in the Authority facet, about 600 were successfully linked to Nomisma URIs, the majority of which were generated several months ago as a precursor to the launch of the new and improved Coin Hoards database. Of the remaining 400, a relatively small number (several dozen) are names that require further disambiguation between more than one entity (multiple Cotys or Mithridates are represented in the ANS collection) or rulers that have not yet been created in Nomisma. A larger portion of the remaining 400 are Roman magistrates that will be normalized at a later date as we begin to incorporate Roman Provincial Coinage Online URIs into our database or Celtic kings or tribes that will be created in Nomisma in the near future.

The linking of authorities in MANTIS to Nomisma results in a huge improvement in the usability of our Greek coinage. This not only improves that standardization of preferred labels (since we had previously implemented variant names and spellings for the same person in the underlying FileMaker curatorial database), but Nomisma also facilitates the indexing of related dynasty and corporate entity concepts into MANTIS. The Dynasty facet on the browse page is much improved (although not thoroughly cleaned, since we did not eliminate values from this facet for coins not linked to authorities).

Parthian coins in MANTIS

More importantly, the State facet now lists all of the overarching corporate entities linked to each individual ruler, satrap, magistrate, etc. This means that for the first time, it is possible to execute a simple query to gather all 1,600 coins of the Parthian Empire, 349 coins of the Kingdom of Elymais, etc. in one result set, rather than relying on the previous dynasty field, which was inconsistently cataloged.

Some further statistics:
  • Of the 94,723 coins in the Greek department, 38,563 are linked to Nomisma URIs for authority.
  • 32,177 coins are linked to a Nomisma concept for the related corporate entity. There are 84 corporate entities in total.

There is still much to improve here, both within the Greek department and beyond it, but this is a clear demonstration of the enhancements that can be made in usability by more thorough integration of Linked Open Data identifiers. The effort to achieve this was minimal (since most of the Nomisma IDs had already been created), but is a foundation on which we can build toward better data quality within other departments as we begin to transition from FileMaker to CollectiveAccess as our collections management system.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Hellenistic Royal Coinages union monogram catalog enabled

After making some minor updates to the XQuery that underlies the symbol pages in Numishare, I have enabled the unified monogram interface in the Hellenistic Royal Coinages umbrella site. There are now 2,800 monogram URIs in this interface spread across Seleucid, Ptolemaic, and Argead coinage, including posthumous issues in the name of Alexander the Great published in the PELLA project. These monograms can be filtered by constituent letter, as in individual projects, showing overlap between the various Hellenistic kingdoms. It will become apparent that identical monograms will have different URIs in the different type corpora. This will be addressed eventually, as we combine these images with monograms from other Greek numismatic projects, such as Corpus Nummorum, and issue unique URIs for each monogram concept in the Nomisma.org namespace.

Hellenistic monograms consisting of Χ and Ψ

Some minor updates to Numishare were made this morning to index the constituent letters from these monograms into a Solr facet that appears under the symbols section of the browse page in each project, as well as the HRC umbrella site. The letters are indexed at the level of obverse and reverse, but not specific positions, like other symbols. The Javascript that forms the Lucene query has been updated to replace the default operator from OR to AND for letters, since it is more useful to search for types related to all of the associated letters than any of them (in contrast to mints, denominations, etc., where a coin type is typically only associated with one).

Hellenistic coins with monograms that contain Χ and Ψ

Price 874
What interesting here is that there are two pairs of identical monograms in the results. One coin from each pair is from PELLA and the other from SCO. For example, Price 874 is the same monogram as Houghton 570.4. Looking at the types associated with these monograms, Price attributes one type (P151) to Philip III Arrhidaeus from Aradus, but the monogram appears on several Seleucid types. In particular, P151 appears to be identical to http://numismatics.org/sco/id/sc.1.Ad43.9, which also includes an identical monogram form (also with two different URIs in PELLA and SCO) in the left field (according to the images, but not the cataloging). The cataloging in PELLA is wrong here and should be fixed. The photographs associated with the Price type clearly show these monograms in left field, and Price 399 beneath the throne (perhaps wrongly encoded as the Greek zeta in SCO).

Price P151 and SC Ad43.9 have not previously been linked together as the same type. Four coins from the Ashmolean and BnF link to the Price URI, but no coins have been cataloged to the SC number. By inserting these types into our concordance list, we will be able to display the images for the coins in SCO. Furthermore, Houghton, Lorber, and Hoover attribute this type to Seleucus, minted in Babylon. While we will not change Price's cataloging to change the authority and mint for the type, ideally we want to to use the SC data as the canonical reference.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

About 1,300 Seleucid Monograms published to SCO

About 1,300 monograms appearing on the coinage of Seleucus I through Antiochus III (Houghton, Lorber, and Hoover's Seleucid Coins, Part 1) have been published to Seleucid Coins Online (SCO) and linked to thousands of types and subtypes. Much like previous work with PELLA and PCO, the constituent letters have been annotated by Peter van Alfen, although I am sure we will spot some errors or oversights in the process.

Where the SCO monograms differ from the previous projects is that monograms have been organized hierarchically by Oliver Hoover. Unlike in PELLA and PCO, where a monogram usually has one SVG file (but may have more than one to illustrate slight variations in style), the Seleucid monograms have been grouped thematically by letters and general design motif.

SCO monogram 299

For example Monogram 299 generally consists of Μ, Ε, and Υ, and has four sub-monograms linked to the parent through skos:broader in the RDF. These sub-monograms URIs (e.g, http://numismatics.org/sco/symbol/monogram.houghton.299_3), are encoded within the coin type data, which makes it possible to visualize the mints, hoards, and coin types connected at the sub-monogram level as well as the parent level, by extending the underlying SPARQL query all types associated with the parent monogram through each of the children:

  BIND (<http://numismatics.org/sco/symbol/monogram.houghton.299> as ?symbol)
    SELECT ?symbol ?side WHERE {
     {?side nmo:hasControlmark ?symbol}
     UNION {?children skos:broader+ ?symbol .
              ?side nmo:hasControlmark ?children}

Similarly, Seleucid Coins is an extensively hierarchical type corpus. Many symbols and monograms are annotated at the subtype level. While individual subtypes are indexed into Solr in Numishare for OpenRefine reconciliation and the Atom feed (which powers lookups in KENOM), the browse page itself shows only parent types. The underlying code in Numishare was updated so that symbols and monograms annotated within subtypes are indexed into Solr, making it possible to access them from the symbol facets, regardless of whether that particular monogram appears explicitly within the data for the parent type. For example, Monogram 426 appears in SC 42.2, but has been indexed into the data for SC 42 so that it still appears on the browse page for the query, with two other non-hierarchical types in which the monogram appears directly. Coincidentally, Monogram 426 only appears on posthumous Alexanders minted in Carrhae from 310-290 B.C.

Query results for Monogram 426

Some technical advances I would like to implement in these user interfaces in the near future:

  • A histogram showing the dates of production for monograms
  • Plugging the monograms into the existing distribution analyses functions in Numishare and Nomisma (to generate charts showing authorities, mints, etc. that produced monograms)
  • Vary the radius of the mint points on the map by density of production
  • Introduce a draggable timeline into the map so that the geographic distribution can be visualized over time

The links between letters, monograms, types, mints (and other typological attributes), and hoards will open the door to completely new types of query that were not possible before the application of Linked Open Data to numismatics. We are barely scratching the surface of what's possible. I have recently queried a list of concordances between Ptolemaic monograms and mints from the Nomisma.org SPARQL endpoint that I plan to import into a network visualization tool, like Gephi, for experimentation.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Ptolemaic Monograms Published to PCO

More than 300 monograms pertaining to the coinage of Ptolemy I - IV have been published to Ptolemaic Coins Online. Like the functionality detailed in our publication of monograms in PELLA, the monogram images will appear in the browse and coin type pages, and the landing pages for monograms, e.g., Lorber 265, will show related coin types and a map of associated mints and findspots. Since the American Numismatic Society's collection pulls typological directly from PCO, the monograms will now appear directly in Mantis.

Unlike in PELLA, where more than one monogram does not often occur in the same position on a side of the coin, the combination of monograms, letters, and other symbols may appear together, sometimes in a particular horizontal or vertical alignment.

CPE 1.1 645, for example, includes two monograms arranged vertically in the left field, and lambda over another monogram in the right.

ANS 1944.100.76207 - CPE 1.1 645

In order to handle these particular placements, as well as choices between monograms (a type may include slight variations of a monogram), we have turned to using EpiDoc TEI for more granular annotation. EpiDoc was introduced in 2017 to facilitate increased granularity for legends, descriptions, and bibliographic references. I have recently updated the NUDS XML schema to allow for the namespacing of EpiDoc into the <symbol> element to differentiate between monogram URIs and tei:segs for letters. Many other symbols that appear on coins (e.g., dolphin, torch, lightning bolt, etc.) are still encoded as segs, but we will eventually replace these with URIs representing visual concepts.

The arrangement of symbols above is represented in TEI as:

<symbol position="leftField">
    <tei:div type="edition">
        <tei:ab rend="above">
                    <tei:g type="nmo:Monogram" 
    >Lorber Monogram 206</tei:g>
        <tei:ab rend="below">
                    <tei:g type="nmo:Monogram" 
    >Lorber Monogram 265</tei:g>
<symbol position="rightField">
    <tei:div type="edition">
        <tei:ab rend="above">
        <tei:ab rend="below">
                    <tei:g type="nmo:Monogram" 
    >Lorber Monogram 104</tei:g>

The @rend element is used in the <ab> or <seg> for particular renderings, e.g., to annotation rotation.

B544 is an illustration of a choice between two monograms, a variation of sigma that is facing either direction.

<symbol position="exergue">
    <tei:div type="edition">
                <tei:g type="nmo:Monogram" 
    >Lorber Monogram 250</tei:g>
                <tei:g type="nmo:Monogram" 
>Lorber Monogram 118</tei:g>

These data are entered into spreadsheet columns following a particular standard, which the CSV-to-NUDS PHP script will parse into TEI XML. The same logic has been applied to the script for publishing Seleucid monograms. So expect to see those online in the year future.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Richard Abdy's new Hadrianic RIC volume published to OCRE

After a tremendous amount of work by ANS curatorial assistant, Lauren Tomanelli, and with the permission of Spink & Son and British Museum curator and author of the newest edition of Roman Imperial Coinage (Volume II, Part 3, second edition), Richard Abdy, the new coin types of Hadrian have been published to Online Coins of the Roman Empire.

The new volume includes more than 3,000 types of Hadrian, with a much more granular description of busts, we have taken a type/subtype approach to the new volume in order to minimize the reduction of physical specimens that are attributed to these types.

For example, RIC II.3 Hadrian 4-6 have three distinct busts:

  • Bust of Hadrian, laureate, bare chest, traces of drapery on far shoulder usually visible, right
  • Bust of Hadrian, laureate, cuirassed, right, viewed from front
  • Bust of Hadrian, laureate, draped and cuirassed, right, viewed from front
These three types have been derived from a single type in the original volume, 2C. Since few, if any, other collections have begun to catalog their collections in the new type numbers, if we published every type without linking Hadrian 4-6 as a supertype, we would end up losing all of the specimen data from Hadrian 2C. There is certainly a disadvantage to this approach, which can be illustrated in Hadrian 14-16:

While II.3 Hadrian 14 maps 1:1 with II Hadrian 4B, II.3 Hadrian 15 and 16 both map to one type in the first edition (4C). Therefore, the same example specimens appear under the Hadrian 15 and 16 types, not having been disambiguated by bust type in the source cataloging from partner collections. We hope these sorts of issues will be cleaned up over time.

On the other hand, the supertype strategy does open the door to archaeological materials to be attributed to the supertype, when the bust is too worn for certain identification.

The Concordance List

Lauren worked to put together a concordance list between the old and new type numbers, which we have published as a Google Sheet here. The relationship is often 1:1, but there are 1:n relationships in either direction. Under the hood in Numishare, 1:1 relationships result in an HTTP 303 See Other redirect to the new type URI. If an old URI corresponds to more than 1 new URI, the user is presented with a choice of possibilities (example, http://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.2.hdn.4C). The underlying RDF data include dcterms:replaces/dcterms:isReplacedBy and skos:exactMatch properties, according to precedents we have established in other projects, like Ptolemaic Coins Online.

There are some 400 type numbers from the first edition that are not in the second, including cistophori, which have moved to Roman Provincial Coinage. We plan to create automated redirects to RPC Online for this block of about 100 types in the near future.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

British Museum URIs updated, linked to Coin Hoards

More than 62,000 British Museum coins that have been aggregated into the Nomisma.org numismatic Linked Open Data cloud have had their URIs updated to the newly-launched Collections Online system. The lack of long-term maintenance of their own URI scheme has been a well-known problem for years, and hopefully the new Collections Online receives the administrative backing to promote a greater level of stability than the original experiment with SPARQL.

As part of this overhaul, my script read a JSON API for each coin to perform a lookup of new image URLs. The images provided in the new system are higher resolution than before, enabling us to store both thumbnail and maximum resolution image links. In some cases, we have been able to prefer obverse and reverse images over jpegs where these sides had been combined into one file.

In addition, I performed a lookup for Greek coins with "hoard" as a keyword. I downloaded the CSV for these search results (1,600 coins), and was able to link about 1,400 of them to URIs in coinhoards.org. Surprisingly there was zero overlap between Hellenistic coins from the BM that were already in PELLA, SCO, and PCO and coins with hoard references. I imagine this is a gap in cataloging. I also used OpenRefine to reconcile mints, denominations, and materials to Nomisma URIs so that these values can be used for more sophisticated query.

A British Museum coin linked to IGCH 1648.
These 1,400 coins have been linked positively to 38 IGCH hoards, including seemingly complete coverage of IGCH 2194, a hoard consisting exclusively of Carthaginian bronzes. The British Museum's cataloging suggests these were all minted in Carthage, but IGCH suggests an uncertain Siculo-Punic mint.

About half of all of the coins with an IGCH reference come from IGCH 1355, a substantial hoard of Rhodian silver coinage. Sadly, few if any have been photographed so far.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

More than 1000 monogram URIs added to more than 2,000 types of Alexander the Great

Back in December, more than 1,200 monograms from Price's 1991 monograph, Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus, were published into PELLA, each accessible at a URI with at least one SVG graphic (drawn by Mark Pyzyk) representing an idealized representation of that monogram.

Recently, we processed a concordance between these monogram IDs and their associated Price type numbers (also prepared by Mark) and regenerated the entire Price data in PELLA. The result is nothing short of major advancement in the way researchers can query and visualize these monograms over time and space.

Fig. 1: monogram facets
Let's first begin with the browse page, where the symbol facets (expand the list below the typological categories) have been updated for these monograms. The multiselect widget supports rendering HTML, which means we can display the SVG graphic in the symbol list (Fig 1). If we select one or more monograms to filter our search results, the graphic will also display in the list of filters to be removed (Fig 2).

Fig. 2: search results

Connecting all of the dots in the numismatic LOD graph

Monogram 453 is one of the more interesting test cases.

Of course the monogram will appear on a type page which contains that monogram, e.g., Price 210, and it will also appear in MANTIS as well, since MANTIS (and other Numishare-based projects) will pull typological data from a coin type record. The ANS coin, 1944.100.29329, has a type of Price 210, but was also found in the the Demanhur Hoard (IGCH 1664), which now enables us to establish a direct link from specimen -> hoard (with findspot) -> type (with mint) -> monogram. Since this monogram appears on many types which are linked to many specimens from various hoards, we can therefore generate a map showing the geographic distribution of both production and circulation of this monogram. We can also get a full list of types on which this monogram appears. We can see that it was overwhelmingly produced from 336 - 300 B.C., but still produced in Miletus as late as 165 B.C.

Fig. 3: Monogram 453

The next logical step for this is to expand the map to include a histogram reflecting both periods of production and the deposit dates of the related coin hoards. The hoard GeoJSON is already GeoJSON-T compliant.

Furthermore, since Price types have been annotated, you can see Edward T. Newell's own sketch for this monogram in one of his own research notebooks in our digital archive (powered by TEI - IIIF interoperability).

Page 19 of one of Newell's hoard notebooks.

Because we have captured constituent letters of these monograms (using CIDOC-CRM, as detailed in the December blog post), it is possible to take these visualizations one step further by showing the distribution of a particular letter or combination of letters over time and space. Although we have not adapted the Numishare user interface to query and visualize by constituent letters yet, it is nevertheless possible to conduct these queries directly in Nomisma.org's SPARQL endpoint.

Because there are a number of similarities across monograms (see http://numismatics.org/pella/symbols?symbol=%CE%94&symbol=%CE%97 for monograms with Η and Δ), perhaps we would like to query for all mints that contain monograms that include both of these letters:

PREFIX crm: <http://www.cidoc-crm.org/cidoc-crm/>
PREFIX geo: <http://www.w3.org/2003/01/geo/wgs84_pos#>
PREFIX nmo: <http://nomisma.org/ontology#>
PREFIX org: <http://www.w3.org/ns/org#>
PREFIX rdf: <http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#>
PREFIX skos: <http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core#>

SELECT DISTINCT ?mint ?label ?lat ?long WHERE {
  ?monogram crm:P106_is_composed_of "Δ", "Η" .
  ?side nmo:hasControlmark ?monogram .
  ?type nmo:hasObverse|nmo:hasReverse ?side
  {?type nmo:hasMint ?mint}
  UNION {?type nmo:hasMint/rdf:value ?mint}
  ?mint a nmo:Mint ;
        geo:location ?loc ;
        skos:prefLabel ?label FILTER (langMatches(lang(?label), "en")) .
  ?loc geo:lat ?lat ;
       geo:long ?long

Distinct mints with delta-eta (results)

Or perhaps we want to see not just the distinct mints, but the full list of types (mapped) and ordered chronologically (query):


Broad distribution of delta-eta monograms, grouped geographically by number of types

What we see here is that eta and delta monograms first appear in Miletus about the time of Alexander's death before circulating around neighboring cities in Asia Minor, then substantial production in Ecbatana from 295-280 B.C., and then two notable periods in Odessus in 200 B.C. and again in 70.

Next Steps 

The obvious next step is to upgrade the interface of the symbol page to generate a map of mints and findspots for a given letter combination, as well as provide links to download related coin types and physical specimens. This is fairly straightfoward and can be implemented within the next several days.

Currently, Lauren Tomanelli (having finished her work on the new Hadrian volume of RIC) is working on preparing the Ptolemaic monograms for publication, and Oliver Hoover is doing the same for the Seleucids. Seleucid Coins Online and Ptolemaic Coins Online will be reprocessed with these new URIs, and so this functionality will become available in both of those projects, as well as in the Hellenistic Royal Coinages umbrella site. There will be some duplication of monogram forms across these corpora. In the longer term, the Greek numismatists working within the Nomisma community will disambiguate these monograms and issue a new URI pattern directly in Nomisma for each distinct monogram. Old, duplicate URIs from HRC will point to the new scheme.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Updates to Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic

With the impending launch of the new database of Greek Coin Hoards (derived from the 1973 publication, Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards), which will implement an updated findspot model that results in an RDF model more in line with ARIADNE's CIDOC-CRM recommendations, I have made some updates to Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic. Both hoard projects now export compatible Linked Open Data.

Instead of linking directly to a Geonames URL for the findspot (which can result in a collision of triples when aggregating content across collections that use the same gazetteer), the findspot is essentially reconceived as having been found within the boundaries of the gazetteer place, but is not that place itself.

Similar to a proposal I submitted to integrate the ARIADNE findspot data model into Linked Art, the new model extends nmo:hasFindspot from a direct gazetteer link to a node represented an nmo:Find (event), roughly equivalent to CRM sci:S19_Encounter_Event.

  a nmo:Hoard, skos:Concept ;
  skos:prefLabel "Balanesti (Romania; BAL)"@en ;
  nmo:hasClosingDate "-0078"^^xsd:gYear ;
  nmo:hasFindspot [
    a nmo:Find ;
    crm:P7_took_place_at [
      a crm:E53_Place ;
      rdfs:label "Balanesti, Romania"@en ;
      crm:P89_falls_within <https://sws.geonames.org/685694/>
  ] ;
  dc:tableOfContents <http://numismatics.org/chrr/id/BAL#contents> ;
  void:inDataset <http://numismatics.org/chrr/> .

  a crm:E53_Place ;
  rdfs:label "Bălăneşti (Romania)" ;
  crm:P2_has_type <http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300008347> ;
  geo:location <https://sws.geonames.org/685694/#this> ;
  crm:P168_place_is_defined_by <https://sws.geonames.org/685694/#this> .

  a geo:SpatialThing, crmgeo:SP5_Geometric_Place_Expression ;
  crmgeo:Q9_is_expressed_in_terms_of <http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q215848> ;
  geo:lat 45.06667 ;
  geo:long 23.4 ;
  crmgeo:asWKT "POINT (23.4 45.06667)"^^http://www.opengis.net/ont/geosparql#wktLiteral .

The geographic coordinates are still linked/encoded with the W3C WGS ontology (geo:) to remain compatible with our practices elsewhere in the Nomisma data model, but also implemented crmgeo for encoding points and polygons as WKT, and designate the spatial node with both the geo:SpatialThing and crmgeo:SP5_Geometric_Place_Expression RDF classes.

In the process of developing a stylesheet to make some minor updates to the underlying NUDS Hoard XML model, I discovered numerous missing or inaccurate Geonames place references. Many of the missing places were cities in the former Yugoslavia, which did not match anything in the automated Geonames lookup we devised for this project back in late 2012/early 2013. Many of these places have mapped to modern cities in Slovenia, Croatia, other countries.

Improved coverage in the former Yugoslavia

Other corrected places may have been Romanian or Italian administrative divisions instead of the lower-level populated place. The Geonames place codes have been resolved to Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus terms, which have been reindexed into CHRR as a facet on the browse page.

Another area where a few gaps were filled came with Nomisma IDs for extraneous authorities that have only recently been created for IGCH, e.g., Juba I. With these authorities having been linked to Nomisma, the reindexing process has pulled the related dynasties and corporate entities related to these people and exposed them as new facets in the browse page.

Furthermore, since the coins of Juba I appear in more than a dozen Roman Republican coin hoards, these hoards now populate the geographic distribution in the map on his Nomisma page.

Distribution of Republican coin hoards including the coins of Juba I

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Bronze types from Ptolemy I - IV published to PCO

More than 500 bronze coin types from Catharine Lorber's Coins of the Ptolemaic Empire Vol. I, Part II (Ptolemy I - IV) have been published online to Ptolemaic Coins Online. You can access them by selecting Bronze from the material facet in the browse page: http://numismatics.org/pco/results?q=material_facet%3A%22Bronze%22.

Many thanks to Gunnar Dumke at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg for working on this spreadsheet. It was essentially publication ready, except for a few new Nomisma IDs for authorities and denominations that needed to be created.

The next task is to export a new batch of coins from the American Numismatic Society collection that will map to these new URIs through the underlying Svoronos concordances.

The coins from the British Museums (for example, http://numismatics.org/pco/id/cpe.1_2.B508), were already ingested with Svoronos URIs, and automatically show up in CPE types via skos:exactMatch links in the underlying Linked Open Data. Unfortunately, the BM coins aren't photographed.

Update: April 24, 2020

The ANS coins with Svoronos references have been exported from our curatorial database into MANTIS. Nearly six hundred bronzes have been linked to the new PCO URIs and integrated into Nomisma.org's SPARQL endpoint for query and analysis. There are now about 3,200 Ptolemaic coins linked to PCO, more than half of which have come from the ANS collection. Both the British Museum and Bibliothèque nationale de France have contributed more than 600 coins, and another nine institutions of varying sizes have contributed the remainder.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

First batch of Philip II coins added to PELLA

The first few collections of Philip II coins have been linked to new Le Rider URIs and have been made accessible in PELLA through Nomisma.org's SPARQL endpoint. The American Numismatic Society linked 656 coins to these new URIs. Over the weekend, Karsten Dahmen at the Berlin Münzkabinett cataloged the first 17 coins of their collection. Additionally, I used Matt Lincoln's old data dump of years-old British Museum RDF data running locally in an endpoint to query for Le Rider references among their coins. Using OpenRefine to perform some additional cleanup, almost 60 coins of Philip II from the British Museum are now available in PELLA. Furthermore, just about a half hour ago, Julien Olivier at the Bibliothèque nationale de France sent a spreadsheet of 202 coins of Philip II with their corresponding Le Rider URIs. At this phase, there are now over 900 physical specimens linked into these typologies in PELLA. Not bad since we only just published them less than a week ago!

PELLA Philip II 137 is one of the best-represented types.

I expect a lot more contributors to come along as the cataloging process begins to proliferate through partners such as KENOM and NUMiD.

As it stands now, there are 382 total parent types in PELLA. The coins from the aforementioned collections are cataloged with a mixture of Le Rider (subtype [skos:broader] or skos:exactMatch [for plate-figure numbers]) URIs and PELLA parent type URIs. With the following SPARQL query, I can get a count of the number of photographed specimens per type:

PREFIX rdf: <http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#>
PREFIX dcterms: <http://purl.org/dc/terms/>
PREFIX foaf: <http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/>
PREFIX nm: <http://nomisma.org/id/>
PREFIX nmo: <http://nomisma.org/ontology#>
PREFIX skos: <http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core#>

SELECT ?type (count(?coin) as ?count) WHERE {  
  ?type dcterms:source|skos:exactMatch/dcterms:source nm:pella_type_series .
  ?coin nmo:hasTypeSeriesItem|nmo:hasTypeSeriesItem/skos:broader ?type .
  {?coin nmo:hasObverse/foaf:depiction ?img}
  UNION {?coin foaf:depiction ?img}
} GROUP BY ?type

Hoards of Philip II coins
There are 258 types of Philip II with at least one photographed specimen, which is about two-thirds of the entire range of coinage. Not too bad for just several collections working together to catalog their coins in a few days.

Now that we have linked the Philip II Nomisma ID to typologies and specimens, some of these specimens also include hoard references, therefore populating the Philip II URI with additional research context for geographic and statistical visualization.

Average weights of tetradrachms from Philip to Alexander

As you can see from the chart above, the weight of Macedonian tetradrachms remains consistent from Philip II to Alexander until 336 B.C (https://bit.ly/2wCuH8G).