Seminar: Cuneiform documents and Linked Data for the ancient world

Yesterday, as part of the New Direction in the DH seminar we had a talk by Terhi Nurmikko, a PhD student in the Web Science Doctoral Training Centre and a member of the Archaeological Computing Research Group at the University of Southampton.

Linked Data for the ancient world: Lessons learnt so far

“Since the decipherment of cuneiform in the 1800s, research in the field of Mesopotamian archaeology has largely developed along two parallel lines of investigation: excavation and philological analysis. Both aspects have relied heavily on off-line, traditional paper-based models of publication and information storage. Since little excavation has taken place in the major southern cities of Mesopotamia in recent decades, this paper focuses exclusively on the recent developments and future directions of the fields of philological and palaeographical research.

Traditional resources have included paper-based documents such as sign lists (Borger, 2004), dictionaries and journal articles. In the last decade, a number of online resources have been created to provide online access to these resources, including (but by no means limited to) dictionaries such as the Pennsylvania Sumerian dictionary, object records such as the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative and text corpora such as the Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus. Whilst these resources have much potential in terms of cross-referencing and inter-linking, for the most part, where this occurs, it is in the form of hyperlinks connecting web pages, rather than data. Little has been done thus far in terms of Linked Data, or engaging with semantic technologies.

The Linked Ancient World Data Institute, held at ISAW at the University of New York in May 2012, was an opportunity for a small number of specialist to discuss the potential of Linked Data for the field of Assyriology and the ancient world in general. This talk will be an opportunity to share the main points covered at this event, and to facilitate more discussions on the same topic. Viewed from the perspective of Web Science, the aim is to illustrate the ways in which a Linked Data project, co-constituted by technical possibilities and social requirements, could help enrich our datasets.”

Recording of the seminar:

If you’re interested you can listen again to the seminar (~1hr) by clicking here.

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