Pleiades: News and Views

Tom Elliott (

This feed aggregator is part of the Planet Atlantides constellation. Its current content is available in multiple webfeed formats, including Atom, RSS/RDF and RSS 1.0. The subscription list is also available in OPML and as a FOAF Roll. All content is assumed to be the intellectual property of the originators unless they indicate otherwise.

May 29, 2014

Pleiades Site News

Maintenance Downtime: May 29, 2014

Pleiades will be down for approximately an hour tonight.

May 08, 2014


SNAP:DRGN introduction

Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopography: Data and Relations in Greco-roman Names (SNAP:DRGN) is a one-year pilot project, based at King’s College London in collaboration with colleagues from the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names (Oxford), Trismegistos (Leuven), (Duke) and Pelagios (Southampton), and hopes to include many more data partners by the end of this first year. Much of the early discussion of this project took place at the LAWDI school in 2013. Our goal is to recommend standards for sharing relatively minimalist data about classical and other ancient prosopographical and onomastic datasets in RDF, thereby creating a huge graph of person-data that scholars can:

  1. query to find individuals, patterns, relationships, statistics and other information;
  2. follow back to the richer and fuller source information in the contributing database;
  3. contribute new datasets or individual persons, names and textual references/attestations;
  4. annotate to declare identity between persons (or co-reference groups) in different source datasets;
  5. annotate to express other relationships between persons/entities in different or the same source dataset (such as familial relationships, legal encounters, etc.)
  6. use URIs to annotate texts and other references to names with the identity of the person to whom they refer (similar to Pelagios’s model for places using Pleiades).

More detailed description (plus successful funding bid document, if you’re really keen) can be found at <>.

Our April workshop invited a handful of representative data-holders and experts in prosopography and/or linked open data to spend two days in London discussing the SNAP:DRGN project, their own data and work, and approaches to sharing and linking prosopographical data in general. We presented a first draft of the SNAP:DRGN “Cookbook”, the guidelines for formatting a subset of prosopographical data in RDF for contribution to the SNAP graph, and received some extremely useful feedback on individual technical issues and the overall approach. A summary of the workshop, and slides from many of the presentations, can be found at <>.

In the coming weeks we shall announce the first public version of the SNAP ontology, the Cookbook, and the graph of our core and partner datasets and annotations. For further discussion about the project, and linked data for prosopography in general, you can also join the Ancient-People Googlegroup (where I posted a summary similar to this post earlier today).

March 18, 2014

Pleiades Site News

New Pleiades Plus Matches Pleiades with GeoNames

Pleiades Plus is an experimental machine alignment between Pleiades place resources and content in the GeoNames Gazetteer.

March 13, 2014

Pleiades Site News

Richer Names Listings for Places

Pleiades place pages now provide more summary information for associated names.

January 24, 2014

Pleiades Site News

Studying Identities in Rome and its Empire

A call for papers has been issued for a proposed colloquium sponsored by the Roman Provincial Archaeology Interest Group at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in New Orleans. The deadline for 500-word abstracts is February 21, 2014.

January 17, 2014

Pleiades Site News

Geographies of the Ancient City: Lessons to Learn from Diachronic Comparisons

A second call for papers has just been issued for this session at the Annual International Conference of the Royal Geographical Society (London, August 2014). Deadline for 300-word proposals is February 3, 2014.

January 14, 2014

Pleiades Site News

The Ancient Near East in Pleiades

We have recently accessioned some data derived from the Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients (TAVO) by an external project. Here is the status of the work, some context, and a call for volunteers.

November 26, 2013

Pleiades Site News

Review Parties in December and January

Several review parties have been scheduled for December 2013 and January 2014. If you're interested in helping the editorial college clear the review backlog and publish new, high-quality information in Pleiades, please consider joining us.

November 19, 2013

Pleiades Site News

Pleiades Downtime: Thursday, 21 November 2013

From 3:45 to 5:45 p.m. US Mountain Standard Time

October 07, 2013

Sean Gillies Blog

Leaving ISAW

Leaving ISAW

After 5 years, I’m leaving ISAW and NYU. Friday (the 13th!) is my last day. It’s been a tremendous privilege to work here, work largely funded by the National Endowment for Humanities (and thereby many of you dear readers), but I can no longer deny my itch to get back to my professional passions: maps and mapping data for the web. Building classics research infrastructure and trying to change scholarly communication has been very interesting, but in all honesty, I’d rather be making better maps and better mapping infrastructure.

On Monday I’ll be just a normal user of Pleiades and no longer responsible for its day to day operation. Leaving the engine room will be a big change for me. Looking back, I’m very proud of what I’ve helped the Pleiades community accomplish. We built a framework for correcting and extending the Barrington Atlas gazetteer and provided a spatial foundation for future digital classics projects. We were pioneers in microattribution. The idea of URIs for classical concepts that we championed is now entirely mainstream, as is the idea of interacting with classical resources using HTTP and REST. Development in the open, with open source licensing, public source repositories, and public mailing lists is now the norm. We took the public funding of Pleiades very seriously and spun out useful open source GIS software like Shapely and Fiona. And the GeoJSON format has roots in Pleiades, maybe you’ve heard of it?

I’ll miss being paid to work at one of the hubs of collaboration between all the wonderful folks at the Alexandria Archive, American Numismatic Society, Ancient World Mapping Center, Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing, Epigraphic Database Heidelberg, Kings College (London) DH, Pelagios, and Portable Antiquities Scheme. It’s been an honor, everybody. Thank you.

Of all these collaborations, it’s the one with Tom Elliott, my boss, that I’ll miss the most. NYU is a big company and some things that go down at big companies are less than ideal, but he has been the ultimate firewall; bureaucratic nonsense never leaked through into my work life. Tom’s the glue that holds the digital classics field together and his vision of it makes positions like mine (no Classics Ph.D. required!) possible. Most of all, he’s my friend. Thanks, Tom.

I’ve got 2 more days of documentation sprinting ahead of me and then I’ll be available for new work.

September 04, 2013

Pleiades Site News

5 September Review Party Canceled

Due to conflicts for a majority of the editorial board, tomorrow's review party has been canceled. Stay tuned for announcements about future events.

August 21, 2013

Horothesia (Tom Elliott)

Get a List of Machine Tags from the Flickr API

I want to know what Pleiades machine tags are in use on photos throughout Flickr (more background here). I thought I'd learn how to ask for that information from the Flickr API via a script. I requested and got an API key (see I set up a Python virtual environment and git repository for the project. I went looking for Python code that already implemented interaction with the API and settled (somewhat arbitrarily) on Beej's Python Flickr API kit (now maintained by Sybren Stüvel). Then used pip install flickrapi to get the package.

Here's a command-line session running the script and showing its output:

(pleiades-flickr)darkstar:pleiades-flickr paregorios$ python src/ 
pleiades:atteststo is used on 15 photos in Flickr
pleiades:denotes is used on 1 photos in Flickr
pleiades:depcits is used on 2 photos in Flickr
pleiades:depicts is used on 7229 photos in Flickr
pleiades:findspot is used on 2197 photos in Flickr
pleiades:finspot is used on 2 photos in Flickr
pleiades:foundat is used on 1 photos in Flickr
pleiades:observedat is used on 3 photos in Flickr
pleiades:origin is used on 225 photos in Flickr
pleiades:place is used on 970 photos in Flickr
pleiades:places is used on 19 photos in Flickr
pleiades:where is used on 119 photos in Flickr
(pleiades-flickr)darkstar:pleiades-flickr paregorios$

Here's the code (version at github):

#!/usr/bin/env python
A Flickr tag bot

import argparse
import flickrapi
import json
import logging as l
import os
import sys
import traceback

from myflickr import API_KEY, NAMESPACE_DEFAULT

SCRIPT_DESC = "poll machine tags from flickr"

def main ():
""" Unleash the bot! """

global args
global l

flickr = flickrapi.FlickrAPI(API_KEY)
resp = flickr.machinetags_getPairs(namespace=args.namespace, format="json")
if resp[:14] == "jsonFlickrApi(":
jstr = resp[14:-1]
j = json.loads(jstr)
ptags = [(p['_content'], p['usage']) for p in j['pairs']['pair']]
for ptag in ptags:
print "%s is used on %s photos in Flickr" % ptag

if __name__ == "__main__":
parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description=SCRIPT_DESC, formatter_class=argparse.ArgumentDefaultsHelpFormatter)
parser.add_argument ("-n", "--namespace", default=NAMESPACE_DEFAULT, help="namespace to use in requesting machine tags")
parser.add_argument ("-v", "--verbose", action="store_true", default=False, help="verbose output")
args = parser.parse_args()
if args.verbose:
except KeyboardInterrupt, e: # Ctrl-C
raise e
except SystemExit, e: # sys.exit()
raise e
except Exception, e:
print str(e)

Comments, questions, and constructive criticism welcomed!

August 20, 2013

Pleiades Site News

Pleiades Review Party: 20 August 2013

UPDATE: Starting a half hour earlier. Current and prospective editors, reviewers, and other community members are invited.

August 19, 2013

Pleiades Site News

Last Week in Pleiades

The all-volunteer editorial review team published 57 new or updated content items. We also set up Facebook, Twitter, and Feedburner accounts, as well as adding support for events and events listings to the site.

August 09, 2013

Pleiades Site News

Last Week in Pleiades (9 August 2013)

51 new or updated content items have been published in the past week.

August 01, 2013

Pleiades Site News

Pleiades Review Party: 12 August 2013

Current and prospective editors, reviewers, and other community members are invited.

Pleiades is now on Twitter

Better late than never...

Pleiades is now on Facebook

You asked for it...

Review Party

Current and prospective editors and reviewers are invited to gather to review content.

July 11, 2013

Pleiades Site News

Bob Consoli's "placename lookup" critique

How to use our downloadable CSV files most effectively.