Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Pompeii Bibliography and Mapping Project

Pompeii Bibliography and Mapping Project
The Pompeii Bibliography and Mapping Project is working to create a unique resource that binds two resources in a responsive online user interface. The first component is an exhaustive database of citations and full-text repository relating to the ancient city of Pompeii.  The second component is a Geographical Information System (GIS) map of that ancient city.  Both of these components are available in their beta formats. The online interface planned will allow a user to navigate the bibliographic database and repository via the GIS map or, conversely, to illustrate places in the GIS map found in a search of the database or repository. These components are described in greater detail in the following sections.

Bibliographic Database – Based on the 14,596 references detailed  in L. García y García’s landmark publication, Nova Bibliotheca Pompeiana, the bibliographic database is designed as an  exhaustive database of all works related to Pompeii. Although the Nova  Bibliotheca Pompeiana is the core of the database, works produced  after 1998 when the Nova Bibliotheca Pompeiana was published will also be incorporated. Automated means to capture future citations on Pompeii are also being developed.
Full-Text Repository – The PBMP’s full-text, text-searchable repository incorporates the extant digital resources in the public domain and builds upon them by capturing all other similarly available works. A census of the Internet Archive’s catalog combined with our own digitization efforts shows that as much as 25% of the out-of-copyright titles have already been digitized. The collections of the Hathi Trust and Google Books will raise the number of works initially available. While the project has already invested in its own digitization equipment and staff, partnerships with the groups just mentioned will be sought to fill the full-text repository. This means that only the smallest portion of the project’s efforts will involve digitization. Where possible, use of in-copyright works will be negotiated through the agreements and policies of the University of Massachusetts libraries. Full-Text documents are connected to citations in the bibliographic database and together form a full subject repository.

Geographical Information System (GIS) – The online GIS is a dynamic map of the places and objects in ancient Pompeii. Its most basic function is to allow a user to navigate the physical landscape of the ancient city. The current GIS is exceptionally robust: more than 15,000 objects and properties are contained in over 400 files. In the next iteration, ESRI’s ArcServer platform will be used to display and deliver these files online and its advanced functionalities – including an integrated timeline feature and the ability to check-out (download), check-in (upload) and track the changes to the map’s base files – make it an ideal choice for this project. Users will be able to download the base files and perform more advanced analyses and/or modify their geometry based on new archaeological interpretations and then upload those new files back into the versioning archive for the online GIS for use (navigation or download by others) of those alternate interpretations.
Interface – These components will be accessed via an online user interface. Users will be able to begin their search via the GIS map or the bibliographic database, a choice that will determine the search environment. For example, as the user selects a place or places in the map, the right side of the interface will display all available information for that place, from simple citations to full-text documents. In this way, using the GIS interface can be imagined as moving the map over the top of a pyramid, to the apex of a unique and structured set of citations and references that lead down to a vast repository of articles, books, and images. Should the user prefer to explore the bibliographic database and full-text repository, the interface will adjust to provide more space for standard bibliographic and full-text search tools. When a search is conducted and records are selected, relevant locations appear highlighted in the reduced sized GIS map. In this way, the metaphorical topical landscapes within the scholarship on Pompeii can be not only expressed as a list, but also can be visualized and given physical structure in the map. The act of searching the subject repository thus creates an instant gazeteer of the results that can be used with the list of citations.

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