Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Prototype Object Viewer in Kerameikos

Over the last few days, I have put together a prototype of an object viewer within the framework that reads the vase URI from a URL parameter and executes a SPARQL query of the underlying Linked Art-compliant CIDOC CRM to gather all of the metadata necessary to create a nice, human-readable page. The construction of these page includes an API call of Kerameikos to get all of the associated SKOS concept data for any URI referred to by the vase RDF. This pipeline can be extended to query data APIs from, the Getty vocabularies, or other controlled vocabulary data systems.

I have taken the additional step of implementing an XSLT function that returns multilingual UI labels, even though almost none of these UI labels have been translated into other languages yet. However, the language (whether set by the Accept-Language header by the browser or manually overridden with the 'lang' request parameter) is used to display the preferred label for the SKOS concept, if it is available in the underlying RDF data. This is often, though not always, the case for concepts that have been aligned to Wikidata, and labels extracted programmatically from their API.

Collections that make their images available through IIIF manifests (represented by crm:P129i_is_subject_of), such as the Fitzwilliam Museum will have these manifests rendered by Mirador. For other collections that conform to IIIF image APIs, but do not produce manifests, such as the British Museum, the image(s) will be displayed in the Leaflet IIIF viewer. Eventually, I will generate an intermediate API that dynamically generates a manifest from underlying IIIF image URIs so that these images can be annotated with iconographic URIs in order to build a more LOD-integrated research tool for iconography. This framework will extend beyond just vases to encompass other types of material culture.

British Museum vase of Exekias, partially displayed in French.

These pages are constructed by the following URL pattern:{object URI}

A dynamic GeoJSON response that may contain the production place coordinates or polygon and/or the findspot coordinates follows the pattern:{object URI}


A link has been added to any image popup in the various concept pages (see below).

A popup of a vase of the Achilles Painter.
 In the long-term, I hope to be able to peel this functionality from the software architecture and turn it into a standalone system that is more generalizable for any CIDOC-CRM that conforms to the profile expressed by the Linked Art community. This system is entirely driven by SPARQL queries at the moment, but I plan to integrate Fuseki with Solr or ElasticSearch to build out a faceted search interface and various data visualization tools, from geographic distributions to networks of artists to other sorts of statistical distributions. The system will be agnostic about specific types of content (vases), and could serve as a large scale aggregation and research tool for many types of objects, a sort of new rendition of Pelagios' dormant Peripleo.


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