Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cultural heritage online


English: Unesco Cultural Heritage symbol from ...
Recently a number of excellent online geographic compendia to archaeological sites have begun to appear on the web. These sites take advantage of the possibilities of linked data and the functionality of GIS-oriented interfaces, allowing the user to access both cartographic (spatial) and contextual information. 

Not only are such sites stimulating – both visually and intellectually – but they provide a vital service in creating online compendia that allow a wider public to know about and appreciate cultural heritage sites and, in particular, to be made aware of the degree to which many such sites find themselves in peril, whether due to neglect, open warfare or diminishing budgetary resources. Such compendia can, hopefully, encourage all of us to be better stewards of our cultural heritage and, perhaps, the web can be a place to cut across nationalistic boundaries. Chuck Jones recently profiled online e-resources for maps on his AWOL blog – a valuable listing that everyone should bookmark. 

Furthermore, our partner project Pleaides and our colleagues at the Pelagios Project continue to lead the way in creating stable identifiers for linked ancient world data, enabling online collaboration in the form of a geographic lingua franca. Hopefully stewardship – and its increasingly important place online – benefits from the efforts to develop and maintain these resources.