Over the past few weeks of working on my Bootleaf based project, ieldran, there have been a number of interesting problems and developments that I’d like the share.

Being a good linked open access site: Last summer I was accepted into the Linked Ancient World Data Institute, an NEH ODH sponsored two day workshop/discussion on how to create links between various open access resources for the ancient world. Following this, I’ve been doing quite a bit of research and thinking on the problem of creating good linked open access sites and resources. I’ve been focusing more though on how to make my dissertation data open and accessible- and ironically not considering how to apply these standards to my CHI project. So now I’m going back to basics, and trying to make this good linked open data. A quick overview, five star linked open data has five principles (Taken from Tim Berners-Lee and Summary Site: http://5stardata.info/):

1. Available online under open license (ex. CC-BY-SA)

2. Available as structured data (ex. Excel instead of image scan)

3. Non-proprietary formats (ex. CSV instead of Excel)

4. URIs to denote things so people can refer to specific things

5. Link data to other resources to provide context

Currently, ieldran has a CC-BY-SA license (check #1 off the list). All the data for the site has been formatted into GeoJSON files, rathering than just creating a static map image, and the data is available for download as a GeoJSON rather than an ArcGIS specific file (check off #2 and #3). However, I don’t have specific URIs for each location, and I currently don’t have links to other resources.

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 9.45.32 AMThe first problem of getting stable URIs for each site location was something that I sent into the Twitterverse for an answer. With help from Sean Gillies and Bryan McBride I was able to get the code for Leaflet Hash– a program that creates specific URIs for specific map locations based on zooming and location. This isn’t the perfect solution, but its better than having nothing. Now I just have to make the darn thing work correctly and play nice with the other codes.

The second problem is creating links. Its a silly little thing- I just want to add a link to each pop-up that will direct the user to other potential resources like the museum holding the collection or online data from sites like Archaeology Data Service. Regardless of what I do, for some reason the resources always pop up as undefined. Yet another problem to add to the list. Hopefully within the next couple weeks though I’ll have solved these issues and have data that is linked and referable.

Placing the dead: The exciting project update is that I finally have all the data I need for the site, and have begun adding it. Over 200 different early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries have been added to ieldran, which of course caused it to throw a hissy fit and refuse to load completely. I’ve been playing around now with trying to figure out ways to make all these points load correctly- it seems to work better if I divide the cemeteries into different layers (ex. Cremation only cemeteries, Mixed Cremation and Inhumation cemeteries, Inhumation only cemeteries). For now I’m working like this, since at least everything will load!

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 9.53.24 AM

Current state of ieldran

Despite the issues I’ve been facing, I’m really excited about the progress that this project has made, and I’m looking forward to getting it to a place where I can finally share it!

I’d love to hear suggestions and alternative solutions for dealing with some of the issues discussed above!