Dictionary of Sydney
ARC Linkage Project
Original historical writing - entries - commissioned by the Dictionary editors are enriched with annotations linking to a range of historical resources (images, people, places, events, references). The Dictionary is unique in being built around an explicit ontology of historical entities and a rich network of annotated relationships between entities. This structure defines a dynamic, navigable network of history rather than locking content into a set of static web resources or a relational database structure.
The Dictionary breaks new ground in historical content creation and editorial workflow, interactive website publishing and the automatic building of web pages from multiple resources (including entries, images, map and timeline data, records of people, places, structures events and so forth). The Archaeological Computing Laboratory’s unique academic content management system (CMS) – Heurist (heuristscholar.org) – provides a collaborative web-based editorial platform in which all of the information can be collected, connected and annotated. The web site is generated through dynamic queries for testing, then published so that it can be served by a commercial data centre independent of the CMS. This generates a fast and stable public interface. The web site is generated through dynamic queries for testing, then independent of the CMS. This generates a fast and stable public interface.
Ontologies and relationships. The project takes a much deeper look and information architectures than would be necessary for simple web publishing. The aspiration is to define and publish a model for the recording of history that is richly descriptive but elegantly simple thus making it easy to implement, query and archive. All data structuring work done in Heurist to support project workflows has been mirrored in industry standard semantic modelling methodologies and so at the end of the first stage of the project we not only have the public website but a fully expressed OWL ontology and the ability to export all or part of the record set as RDF.
Heurist and Cocoon. The Dictionary of Sydney is built around the Heurist collaborative academic database. An editorial interface (right) allows the content editors to annotate and link the entities (records) which constitute the Dictionary. The web site is generated through XML feeds which are formatted using XSL stylesheets through Apache Cocoon pipelines.
The Sydney Journal, a peer-reviewed journal for historical writing published by the Dictionary of Sydney Trust.
The Dictionary of Sydney Trust. The Dictionary of Sydney has been constituted as a charitable trust with a Board of Trustees whose initial membership included the CIs of the first Linkage grant and representatives of the City of Sydney, Historic Houses Trust, State Library of NSW and NSW Archives. The Board has secured funding to continue work on content commissioning and editorial control.