Presentation: Epigraphic Interoperability

Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica ( First International Workshop. British School at Rome, 28-29 February 2008.

Charlotte Tupman and Gabriel Bodard: Epigraphic Interoperability

On the occasion of the Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica Workshop on geospacial data and interoperability, held in Rome on February 28-29, scholars, mainly archaeologists, involved in digs and studies in Libya presented their work with a particular focus on digital data capture and publication.

At 14:00 on Friday 29th, Charlotte Tupman and Gabriel Bodard gave an interesting joint paper on Epigraphic Interoperability. (Slideshow available to view.)

As an introduction, EpiDoc and its principles were briefly explained. The EpiDoc schema and guidelines offer guidance for the encoding of epigraphic texts and metadata in an XML system that abstracts structure and semantics on the one hand from the specifics of display on the other, so that the same underlying data can be used to generate various presentations (from traditional Leiden edition, diplomatic text, web page, printed page, dynamic indexes, or database-like tables).

However, the main focus of the paper was to demonstrate the possibility of collaboration between EpiDoc and the EAGLE databases through a sort of “crosswalk” of data from one schema to another. The EpiDoc guidance defines a level of compliance with the EAGLE database which means that all metadata required by the relevant databases is included and explicitly tagged in a compliant EpiDoc XML edition. Finally a simple tool was demonstrated that created tabular output compatible with the Epigraphic Database Roma from the IRCyr XML files).

At the end of the presentation Professor Silvio Panciera, chair of the AIEGL committee on IT and Epigraphy and director of the EAGLE federation of databases, expressed his support to the project and stressed the importance of digital applications to the study of epigraphy and the Classical world in general. He also expressed his gratitude for any sort of collaboration with the EAGLE endeavour and encouraged the audience to embrace the new opportunities offered by digitalization.

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