Register of Ancient Geographical Entities (RAGE)

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  • Ross Scaife
  • Robert Chavez
  • Neel Smith


From Elliott/Gillies 2009: 39:

They (Scaife, Chavez & Smith) imagined an inventory of conceptual spatial units and a set of associated web services that would store project-specific identifiers for geographic features, together with associated names. This index would provide for cross-project lookup of names, and dynamic mapping. Some development work was done subsequently at the University of Kentucky [Mohammed 2002], and the most current version may be had in the Registry XML format currently under development by Smith and colleagues at the Center for Hellenic Studies via the CHS Registry Browser (cf. [Smith 2005]). At present, it contains just over 3,500 entries drawn almost entirely from Ptolemy's works and thus has so far not seen wide use as a general dataset for the classical world.[*] The concern that informed the RAGE initiative remains valid: geographic interoperation between existing classics-related digital publications will require the collation of disparate, project-level gazetteers. It is our hope that, as Pleiades content is published, its open licensing and comprehensive coverage will catalyze a geo-webby solution.

[*] Of course the primary source of delay for RAGE was the lack of availability of a comprehensive set of coordinates, identifiers and names around which to array the content of other gazetteers. The Barrington Atlas constitutes such a resource, but has not been available in an appropriate form, nor under a suitable license that would permit such reuse. Elliott and Gillies, in collaboration with others (including Smith) and with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.K. Joint Information Systems Committee have recently devised and promulgated a list of identifiers and name strings for every discrete geographic feature in the Barrington Atlas (see [Elliott 2008b]). Projects and publishers are encouraged to use these identifiers in their digital datasets; the Pleiades project aims to establish a web service for linking these identifiers to its online coordinate and name data as it is digitized. Linking or incorporation of the Ptolemaic information now in the RAGE registry will thereafter be a straightforward matter.