The Pleiades Gazetteer and the Pelagios Project

Barker, Elton; Simon, Rainer; Isaksen, Leif and de Soto Cañamares, Pau (2016). The Pleiades Gazetteer and the Pelagios Project. In: Berman, Merrick Lex; Mostern, Ruth and Southall, Humphrey eds. Placing Names: Enriching and Integrating Gazetteers. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 97–109.



Pelagios is a community-driven initiative that facilitates better linkage between online resources documenting the past, based on the places that they refer to. Our member projects are connected by a shared vision of a world – most eloquently described in Tom Elliott’s article “Digital Geography and Classics” (Elliot and Gillies, 2009) – in which the geography of the past is every bit as interconnected, interactive and interesting as the present. Each project represents a different perspective on our shared history, whether expressed through text, map or archaeological record. But, as a group, we believe passionately that the combination of all of our contributions is enormously more valuable than the sum of its parts.

The key to connectivity in Pelagios is the use of common gazetteer references when referring to places. Phrased in more technical terms, the first Pelagios convention states that whenever you refer to a place in your data, you should do so using a gazetteer URI. Such place references could express the find spot of a particular item in an archaeological database; mark up a piece of literature or a research article; identify a toponym in a digitized old map; or record the location of a historic site depicted on a photograph. By expressing them in the form of URIs from a shared gazetteer, otherwise isolated datasets are implicitly joined up to an interconnected graph, with the gazetteer as its central backbone.

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