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”:
- William J. Turkel, “Seeing There,” Digital History Hacks, 18 June 2007
- Ibid., “Hope, the New Research Strategy,” Digital History Hacks, 19 June 2007
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)!