Data in Peripleo comes from many sources. Our sources often publish information about the same real-world thing. A major historical place like Rome, for example, does not just appear in one or two of our partners' datasets - it appears in many.
Luckily, our partners publish their data as Linked Data. Linked Data is a way of connecting online resources that have some element in common. It uses typed links (i.e. links with a meaning attached to them) to declare how different pieces of data relate to one another; or when they are about the same real-world thing.
Peripleo uses these links to connect equivalent records. Therefore, when you select a place in Peripleo, the information that you see - image, names, description, dates - is usually not from one specific authority. Instead, it is an aggregate of information, published collectively by members of the Pelagios Commons community.
Peripleo's info boxes, by design, provide only a compact overview. Ready to dive deeper into the actual Linked Data that underpins them? Let's take a closer look.
Looking Underneath the Hood
Let's start by selecting the place Lepcis Magna. The coloured codes you see at the bottom are a hint to the Linked Data nature of our information: each code is an identifier for Lepcis Magna in one of our partner datasets. What looks like a single entry for Lepcis Magna in Peripleo, is actually a combination of these individual partner records. Click the icon next to the coloured identifiers to open the Linked Data View.
The Link Graph
The link graph (left side) shows how our individual partner records connect to each other: Lepcis Magna in the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire dare:21127 links to its counterpart in the Pleiades Gazetteer of the Ancient World pleiades:344448; Archaeological Atlas of Antiquity Vici.org vici:2448 links to to Pleiades, as well as to the equivalent Wikidata record, and so on.
Exact vs. Close Match
To indicate equivalence, we use two different types of links: exact matches and close matches. (Technically, these types are defined through a Linked Data vocabulary called SKOS - the Simple Knowledge Organization System.) An exact match (solid arrow) means that the records are conceptually identical. They represent the same thing in terms of geographical, cultural and temporal scope. A close match (dashed arrow) means that the records are pretty close, but not necessarily the exact same thing. Our partners use this link type (among other things) to connect an ancient place in their dataset to its modern successor in another.
Indexed vs. External Records
The cloured dots in the graph represent records that Peripleo has indexed, i.e. those that are contained in our partner datasets. White dots, on the other hand, are links to external sources. Our partners link to them in their records, but Peripleo does not currently harvest any further information from them.
For records that include coordinates, the map (right) shows colour coded markers. (Use the button to switch base layers.) Underneath the map you will find the details for each individual record, as they were originally included in the source dataset.
You will notice that locations, as well as other data, will differ, depending which dataset they come from. The power of Linked Data lies in the fact that this variety (and sometimes even contradiction) is not only possible, but perfectly ok! Peripleo's main interface conceals much of this diversity for the sake of keeping the interaction simple. Therefore, be sure to always dig down into the Linked Data view - and follow up on the original sources - when exploring Pelagios Commons.