Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nearly 2,000 Roman Imperial coins from the University of Graz integrated into Nomisma

After several weeks of working with Elisabeth Steiner at the University of Graz, a large portion of the collection of Roman coins at the Institute of Ancient History and Classical Antiquities has been integrated into the SPARQL endpoint and is available in OCRE and CRRO. About 300 Republican coins were initially ingested in October, but the coverage has extended by nearly 2,000 coins from the Imperial period. The collection includes images published according to the IIIF specification, which is rapidly becoming the standard API by which new partners make their images available online. Unlike most Nomisma contributors, where intermediary harvesting scripts transform source XML or CSV into Nomisma-compliant RDF, the University of Graz export is a direct serialization of TEI from their Fedora repository into RDF.

An antoninianus of Gordian III at the University of Graz

What's especially notable about this collection is that it was a successful demonstration of the new Numishare and OpenRefine reconciliation APIs for normalizing RIC references to OCRE URIs. The first step was to normalize mints, emperors, and denominations to Nomisma preferred labels, which were then used as additional property search parameters for normalizing the RIC numbers themselves to the relevant OCRE URI.

You can read more at:
These new reconciliation APIs are the topic of my CAA presentation and paper in two months in the tools session.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Fralin Museum coin collection leaps forward, embraces IIIF

The Fralin Museum at the University of Virginia numismatic collection has received a major functional update thanks to collaboration with the Libary's Information Technology group (particularly, Mike Durbin). The data and images at long last have been migrated into the university's institutional repository--the data have been updated to conform to the latest version of the NUDS schema (with TEI namespaced for bibliographic references) and the images are now available through IIIF web services. I have updated the record page code to use the Leaflet IIIF plugin, so all high resolution images are zoomable now.

Tetrachrachm of Antiochus available in SCO. 1990.18.8

As such, the IIIF service metadata are exposed in the RDF that is harvested into the SPARQL endpoint (according to the Europeana Data Model spec), and the zoomable images are available in OCRE, CRRO, PELLA, and now, Seleucid Coins Online, for which the Fralin has contributed one coin of Antiochus I thus far.

In total, 427 coins in the museum (more than 80%) are hooked into the broader ancient world linked data cloud, available not only through numismatic linked data systems, but also broader aggregations of ancient world materials from Pelagios Commons, to which the Fralin has contributed since at least 2012 or 2013.

A zoomable Fralin aureus of Hadrian displayed in OCRE.

As Seleucid and Ptolemaic Coins Online expand in the next few years as part of the broader NEH-funded Hellenistic Royal Coinages project, more Hellenistic coins from the Fralin will be linked in and made available to students and scholars of numismatics. Although the Fralin's collection is so small that no numismatist would travel there to conduct research (unlike the major collections of the American Numismatic Society and the British Museum), these coins and others from small university and civic museums can be made available for research, filling in gaps between larger collections and painting a more complete picture of the circulation of ancient coinage. Indeed, one of the Fralin's aurei of Trajan (a reissue of Tiberius) is unique among all collections contributing to OCRE, now totally 110,000 objects (RIC Trajan 821).

Other Updates

The version of Numishare running on the Scholars' Lab server is circa spring 2013, predating the migrating from the now-defunct Apache Cocoon to Orbeon. There's virtually no way of testing code changes locally, and so I had to roll the dice on very minor updates on the Scholars' Lab test server. These updates included the implementation of the Leaflet IIIF libraries, as well as some minor changes to the map function to fix a glitch with deprecated URLs for the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire's Imperium Romanum baselayer in OpenLayers. I also replaced the Google Maps physical layer with one published by Mapbox. I'd migrate from OpenLayers to Leaflet entirely, but ideally, the entire platform should be migrated to the current version of Numishare.

A link to the record in Virgo (the online library catalog) has also been added into the record. This URI is stored within the NUDS control as an otherRecordId[@semantic='rdfs:seeAlso'], and therefore comes through in the RDF in the rdfs:seeAlso property.

University of Freiburg joins Nomisma

The coin cabinet of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg is the latest member of the NUMiD consortium to join the Nomisma project and make its coins available through OCRE and CRRO. The number of cataloged specimens made available in OCRE and CRRO stands at 100 so far, but this comprises only a small portion of the total collection of more than 12,000 objects.

About the collection:
The Seminar of Ancient History holds more than 12,000 coins of the Roman Imperial period and Late Antiquity. Their majority originates from a collection which Herbert Nesselhaus, the former Professor of Ancient History, was able to purchase in 1961 from the Archbishopric of Freiburg. The collection had found a temporary home there some twenty years earlier: Between 1900 and 1926 the Geheimer Oberbaurat Heinrich Wefels from Erlangen built a collection of c. 14,000 coins, which he had acquired at various auctions. About 10,300 are coins of Roman emperors and an additional 2,400 represent provincial issues. Wefels focussed on the Imperial period, but did add both earlier and later coinages, too. About 950 Byzantine coins, 360 Roman Republican ones, 220 Greek issues, and 22 Celic coins bear witness to these secondary areas of interest. Although the Seminar für Alte Geschichte is not any longer able to purchase additional coins, its collection was augmented through generous donations by Herbert A. Cahn, Otto Feld and Gerold Walser. Today the collection is complemented by a scientific numismatic library, which again originates in the collector Heinrich Wefels.

 An example coin can be found at Augustus 252.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Seleucid Coins Online launches

Another major piece of the NEH-funded Hellenistic Royal Coinage has been put into place. More than 3,000 Seleucid coin types from Lorber, Houghton, and Hoover's Seleucid Coins, Part 1 (expect Part 2 in 2018) have been published to Seleucid Coins Online. Users of ANS coin type corpora will be familiar with the layout and functionality, as this project is also published in Numishare, the same as OCRE, CRRO, and PELLA. Using semantic modeling inherent to Nomisma, dynasties and political entities to which rulers belong are now available as facet fields.

The first contributors of coinage to this project are the University of Münster (Archäologisches Museum der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität), Harvard Art Museums, the Berlin Münzkabinett, and the ANS's own collection of nearly 1,700 Seleucid Coins. We expect to add coinage from other partners, such as the British Museum and Fralin Museum at the University of Virginia shortly. Our colleagues Karsten Dahmen at Berlin and Frédérique Duyrat are working to translate type descriptions, and we will activate French and German in SCO early in 2018. The ANS and Harvard are both contributing images according to the IIIF specification.

Page for
With the ingestion of typological metadata as RDF into the SPARQL endpoint, it is now possible to conduct broader geographic and statistical distribution and metrical analyses with Nomisma's own set of tools (e.g., to compare the weight of Seleucid tetradrachms with those of Alexander). The type data and associated physical specimens also provide further research context for individual concepts defined on Nomisma. For example, the Nomisma page for Seleucus II will now display a map displaying the distribution of mints and findspots for the ruler, as well as a sample listing of related coin types (with photograph of coins linked to these types).
All of the data are available for free and open reuse.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

More than 20,000 Roman Republican coins from the BnF added to CRRO

In a watershed moment for Roman Republican numismatics, 20,237 coins with high-resolution IIIF images from the Bibliothèque nationale de France have been incorporated into the SPARQL endpoint, and are therefore available in Coinage of the Roman Republic Online. This nearly doubles the coverage of Republican coinage--there had previously been about 26,000 coins available through CRRO from 18 museums or archaeological databases (like the Portable Antiquities Scheme).

RRC 452/3

The addition of IIIF images for these coins greatly increases the scope of dynamic, SPARQL-generated IIIF manifests for coin types, such as this one from RRC 335/1a.

Florence Codine, from the BnF Coins and Medals department, provided a spreadsheet dump of these coins, which have been meticulously cataloged with CRRO URIs. I updated the PHP script I wrote for the integration of the BnF's coins of Alexander the Great into Pella. This script iterates through all of the ARKs in the CSV and queries the Gallica OAI-PMH endpoint to extract further metadata available in the OAI Dublin Core. This script then outputs RDF/XML conforming to the Nomisma ontology and data model, with the IIIF extension following the Europeana Data Model specification.

Some Basic Stats

  • 2,295 total RRC types in CRRO
  • 2,119 types are connected to at least 1 physical type (92% coverage)
  • 2,105 types connected to at least 1 physical type that has been photographed (91%) (SPARQL query)
  • 1,791 types are connected to BnF coins specifically (78% coverage for just one collection!)
  • RRC 340/1 has the largest photographic coverage with 1,878 coins! [I am going to need to introduce pagination for SPARQL results on coin type pages]
  • 63 types have more than 100 photographed specimens
  • 966 types have more than 10 photographed specimens (42%)

Here's a CSV output of all types + the total image count per type: [download]

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Numishare supports OpenRefine reconciliation APIs for OCRE, PELLA, and CRRO

After building a reconciliation service for Nomisma concepts, I began working on applying the same methodologies to creating an OpenRefine reconciliation API for coin type corpora projects published in the Numishare platform. The API has been extended to support suggestions for properties. These properties are facet/string (exact match) or text (keyword anywhere) fields for mints, rulers, denominations, etc. that have been indexed into Apache Solr. It may be possible to extend this property list to dates, legends, or other indexed fields.

Property suggestion API is derived from available Solr facet fields

Test Case: University of Graz Roman imperial coins

I received a spreadsheet of about 2,000 Roman imperial coins with RIC numbers and emperors from Elisabeth Steiner at the University of Graz. I performed some cleanup of the RIC numbers and normalized the emperor list to English preferred labels via the Nomisma OpenRefine reconciliation service (more details below). About half of the coins normalized to OCRE IDs on the first pass (which took 45 seconds), but the majority of non-matches fell into two categories: RIC numbers that had been split by OCRE into separate URIs due to differences in denomination and RIC 6-8 volumes, where the numbering restarted based on mint rather than ruler. To ameliorate these issues, I got an updated spreadsheet that contained columns for mint and denomination.

Filter for uncertain attributions, 'od.'

My workflow was as follows:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

ANS web projects, IIIF deployed on new server

In other big news today with the consolidation of Nomisma and ANS digital projects on onto the same dedicated server (which is much more powerful than the separate cloud servers each domain previously ran on), our IIIF image server (Loris) and presentation APIs are now running in production. IIIF functionality extends beyond simple zoom functionality and manifests for single objects in our own collection (e.g.,, but an entirely new array of features, some of which have been described in previous posts:

  • There are now 160,000 photographed objects in the ANS collection, the high res photos of which are available through IIIF. Of these, more than 55,000 are Greek and Roman coins linked to types defined in OCRE, CRRO, and PELLA. Like our other partners that publish IIIF, the zoomable images are available on the coin type landing page, but the ANS adds tremendous coverage in these domains. See dozens of our coins linked to Price 4.
  • Manifests for coin types are generated dynamically by a combination of NUDS typological metadata + SPARQL query results for associated physical specimens with IIIF service metadata. The manifest is linked at the top of the page, along with a link to view the manifest. These sorts of manifests are the jumping-off point for annotating symbols and monograms on coins.
  • The ANS Archives support IIIF through TEI (digitized coin hoard notebooks), EAD, and MODS resources (photographs). Photographs linked to ancient places defined in Pleiades can be ingested into Pelagios. More here: The Newell notebooks are so far the only digital resources featuring annotations, so far.
  • Rainer Simon is reindexing the ANS coins linked to ancient places via Nomisma->Pleiades concordances into Peripleo. These extend beyond the 55,000 Greco-Roman coins linked to OCRE, CRRO, and PELLA to include all ancient coins linked to Nomisma IDs for mints. See Of the 140,000 coins in MANTIS linked to Pleiades places, about 83,000 have been photographed/provide IIIF service metadata to Pelagios.