Promise and challenge: augmenting places with sources

Bill Turkel has some very interesting things to say about “the widespread digitization of historical sources” and — near and dear to my heart — “augmenting places with sources”:

The last paragraph in “Seeing There” resonated especially, given what we’re trying to do with Pleiades:

The widespread digitization of historical sources raises the question of what kinds of top-level views we can have into the past. Obviously it’s possible to visit an archive in real life or in Second Life, and easy to imagine locating the archive in Google Earth. It is also possible to geocode sources, link each to the places to which it relates or refers. Some of this will be done manually and accurately, some automatically with a lower degree of accuracy. Augmenting places with sources, however, raises new questions about selectivity. Without some way of filtering or making sense of these place-based records, what we’ll end up with at best will be an overview, and not topsight.

There’s an ecosystem of digital scholarship building. And I’m not talking about SOAP, RDF or OGC. I’m talking about generic function and effect …  Is your digital publication epigraphic? Papyrological? Literary? Archaeological? Numismatic? Encyclopedic? A lumbering giant library book hoover? Your/my data is our/your metadata (if we/you eschew walls and fences). When we all cite each other and remix each other’s data in ways that software agents can exploit, what new visualizations/abstractions/interpretations will arise to empower the next generation of scholarly inquiry? Stay tuned (and plug in)!

About Tom Elliott

Associate Director for Digital Programs and Senior Research Scholar, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
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One Response to Promise and challenge: augmenting places with sources

  1. Tom Elliott says:

    This meme is hot. Shortly after making the post, I discovered this: Wade Roush, “Second Earth,” MIT Technology Review, July/August 2007,

    “The World Wide Web will soon be absorbed into the World Wide Sim: an immersive, 3-D visual environment that combines elements of social virtual worlds such as Second Life and mapping applications such as Google Earth. What happens when the virtual and real worlds collide?”

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