Having announced our 2018 Working Groups yesterday, today we are delighted to announce the new awardees of the Resource Development Grants. It was a fierce competition (we received 17 excellent applications), judging was difficult, and we would love to have funded more. But we are really excited to be able to support the following four:
LatAm: A Historical Gazetteer for Latin America and the Caribbean
Ben and Sara Brumfield (Brumfield Labs)
Early Modern Latin America is a geography still hitherto unexplored in the field of Spatial Humanities. Although there have been some pioneer projects focusing on the annotation of Latin American historical sources, the local community still feels that there is a need for reliable and interoperable resources, including gazetteers, that are region- and period-specific. The project team has identified a particularly rich resource to help fill this gap for Early Modern Latin America: Anntonio de Alcedo’s “Diccionario geográfico-histórico de las Indias Occidentales ó América” (1786), and its 1812 English translation. Starting from this text, LatAm aims to produce a “seed” dataset for a corpus of Latin American place name gazetteer compatible with Pelagios, which will be indexed by both Peripleo and the World Historical Gazetteer for re-use by any spatial humanities project related to historic Latin America. It will also build a foundation for a future digital edition of Alcedo’s Diccionario, and develop tools and protocols allowing scholars working with historical gazetteers to prepare digital editions and GIS datasets from those documents. For more detail see the FromThePage blog.
Linking Syriac Geographic Data
Wido van Peursen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic once spoken by populations stretching across the Middle East and central Asia. For much of the first millennium C.E., Syriac served as a lingua franca used in travel, trade, and religious culture from the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean to beyond the Iranian plateau. There is, thus, a rich seam of data that can be exploited for historical research, if it can be linked. Building on two pioneering research groups—Syriaca.org (based at Vanderbilt University), which curates authority files and URIs for Syriac sources, and the Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer, a research centre that has a long tradition of applying digital philology and computational textual analysis to ancient Semitic texts—Linking Syriac Geographic Data aims to transform the field through extending Pelagios linked data technologies. Its three deliverables are: (1) to complete the process of importing The Syriac Gazetteer into Pelagios; (2) to import into Pelagios the first research project using Syriaca.org place URIs, the LinkSyr project; and (3) to compare the different methods of annotating Syriac geographic data, using either the LinkSyr Syriac NER or Pelagios’ Recogito platform, and report on the results. Lastly, the project team will produce and document a generalized workflow from the research undertaken including a discussion of future development needs.
Itiner-e. An online gazetteer of Historical Roads
Tom Brughmans (School of Archaeology. Univesity of Oxford), Pau de Soto (Instituto de Ciências Sociais e Humanas. Universidade Nova de Lisboa), Josep Guitart (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Santi Muxach (Institut d’Estudis Catalans),
The study of historical routes connecting places is a crucial aspect to enabling a better understanding of the structure, performance and evolution of past and present transport systems around the world. However, there is a growing gap between our rapidly increasing knowledge about the physical connections between places and the research community’s ability to access and aggregate this mass of information to improve our understanding of the past and present flows of people, goods and ideas these systems facilitate. To address these issues, Itiner-e will develop the first online gazetteer of historical roads. This will enhance our ability to collect, aggregate and debate historical roads, and enable the linking of this important source of information about past societies with other resources by linking related places. This proposal concerns a resource development that aims to develop a pipeline methodology for linked open road data, set up an online platform and implement the method using the Roman routes in the Iberian Peninsula as a proof-of-concept.
OttRec: Ottoman Recogito
Antonis Hadjikyriacou (Boğaziçi University)
The idea of this project developed out of the ‘Spatial History’ postgraduate seminar at the Department of History of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, where students used Recogito to work on the mapping of spatial relationships in different kinds of Ottoman texts. However, one problem that students faced was the lack of representation of Ottoman place names in Recogito’s existing gazetteers. The OttRec project will investigate further the usability of Recogito for annotating a range of textual sources from the Ottoman period: a travel account, an Ottoman chronicle, the record of imperial assets belonging to a powerful family of Ottoman statesmen, and readers’ letters to the first Ottoman women’s magazine. On the one hand, this project will provide an in depth case study of how to embed Recogito in student work and assessment. On the other hand, it will further examine the relevance of the existing gazetteers embedded in Recogito for mapping Ottoman place names. Where place names are not currently available in Recogito’s gazetteers, these will be identified and entered into a separate database, and thus form the first steps for building a specific Ottoman Gazetteer.
The RDGs are one of the most successful initiatives of Pelagios Commons, and we are very proud of what it has been achieved under this scheme in the past years. If you are not familiar with the excellent work that the members of our community have been doing, you can read more about the projects funded in 2016 and 2017 on our blog. All the outcomes of the RDGs are open, feel free to share and reuse them widely!