Nov 30 2011


Thanks @fogonwater!

Nov 30 2011

Anzac WW100 session notes LODLAM NZ

These notes are rough, and may not have captured everything. The session started with a discussion about URL structures, and how/if to use regimental or service numbers in those URLs. Regimental numbers are not always unique, and in Australia, some First World War servicemen and women were not issued the numbers. There are also some duplicates and multiple numbers allocated to some individuals.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Cenotaph project has delivered a web page for each serviceman and woman. Many include links to digitised service records at the archives. There is good metadata about place, people, things and ships.

With place names, need to share a vocabulary to describe the places and link to geo codes. Auckland War Memorial Museum also has some 1200 links from Wikipedia to their collection, especially official histories.
There was discussion about using latitude and longitude as battles were large and took place over, sometimes, large areas. It is possible to use a regional scale or bounding boxes to specify an area. The metaphor of place was mentioned: for instance, Heaven is a place with no lat and long. Kiwi troops in WW2 used Hitler as a word for the enemy, and where the enemy was. Some place names are specific to a time, e.g Western Front, Baby 700, Quinn’s Post. How do you take the particularity and scale it to the concepts? How do you show the links? There is no need to be making new vocabularies, we can use what already exists.

Jon talked about the process followed with the American Civil War project, and said it was useful to think about ​what vocabularies can we use? What apps are we envisaging, how will people use these?​ and how to get data sets together. There is policy work to be done here within organisations.
For the Civil war work, they use ​Freebase as a rosetta stone, mapping places to it, using things like Library of Congress subject headings. Suggestion is to start simple with geo codes. Start with the easiest things, maybe battles? Consider what would it look like to map a campaign and how would that look, and how would it be used?
​Then we started to talk about how we march up work on the two sides of the Tasman. Do we use Wikipedia? Make a commitment to publish semantically marked up data. Don’t have to use Wikipedia, look at how what we have compares to freebase, publish data as a CSV file so that others can use it. (as a sidebar, though this was not discussed, we have to remember to tell people when we publish this material).

The discussion turned back to URLs for a moment, while we looked again at a structure someone had propposed: http://domain/ww1/NZ/person/identifier. one thought was to go with dumbest possible format for persistent URL, and that the URL above above might be better to use as a URI. Do we need a tool to help small organisations to link what they have with what the larger organisations are doing?

Working out where to start is an issue, and there was discussion about how we could use the Commonwealth War Graves Commission data. Key thing is a persistent URL. Can go a long way down the track without talking to others. Internal commitment to persistent URIs. People, places, events, ships can all have a page, and then we can be ready to start linking. We have our own subjects and out in the world are the objects, we just have to agree on the verbs. First, publish data, make it available, then work on linking . What happens if we don’t do this? To have any chance of guiding what happens to our data, we need to be working to get it out, to work with other organisations in this WW100 domain. We also need to let people do stuff with the data, make it available and let people use, and re-use it. Put it within some sort of context, make use of the community of interest that we have here (that is, the organisations represented at this meeting, as well as others who have also expressed interest on both sides of the Tasman). Once we have data in a CSV file, other people can make the RDF.

We need to work out a way to keep in contact. Do we need to set up a Google Group?