Recogito 2: linked data without the pointy brackets

Valeria Vitale (Institute of Classical Studies)

Digital Classicist London seminar 2017

Friday June 16th at 16:30, in room G34, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Livecast at Digital Classicist London YouTube channel.

This seminar will introduce the new version of Recogito, the free online tool developed by Pelagios Commons to create and share semantic annotations, and how it has been improved according to the feedback gathered from the community during the prototype phase.

The talk will start with a brief introduction to Linked Open Data, and in particular GeoData, and how they can be used to enhance the study and communication of the past, creating, sharing and analysing semantic connections between data contributed by different authors. It will then proceed to show how Recogito allows the production of digital annotations on historical documents, and what is its relevance in scholarly research.

Recogito 2 displays a simple and clear interface that features a set of option to create annotations about places, people and events on documents in different formats: texts, images and tabular data. More specifically, for place-names and other geographical references, Recogito enables users to associate each annotations with its geo-coordinates, creating a link with the information stored in a number of digital gazetteers, including some dedicated to the ancient world such as Pleiades and the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire, or other contemporary like Geonames. Unlike its former version, where all users were annotating the same copy of each document, in Recogito 2 users can upload documents in their personal working space and choose the degree of collaboration and openness that better suits a project, or its different stages: from individual annotations only visible to the creator, to real time collaborative annotations of the same document, to Linked Open Data available for all to search and download.

Designed primarily for geographical information, Recogito represents a powerful tool to study and analyse ancient documents and their relationships in a spatial perspective, but is also flexible enough to be used in wider contexts. Recogito can be seen as a standalone annotation tool as well as a useful intermediate step in a more complex research workflow. In fact, all annotations created in Recogito can be subsequently downloaded in a variety of standard digital formats including CSV, RDF XML, JSON-LD, and TEI, and then imported and further processed in multiple other applications from GIS to network analysis software.

Thanks to Recogito’s user friendly design, researchers without any previous knowledge of formal languages such as RDF XML or GeoJSON are able to create valid semantic annotations on their digital documents. In this sense, Recogito allows collaboration among researchers with different skills, and levels of expertise and helps lowering one of the barriers that often prevents non expert users, and especially humanists, from experimenting with digital approaches in their own research.

The seminar will present what is new in this version of Recogito, offer a live demonstration of its functionalities and discuss some examples of applications, especially focussing on case studies related to the classical world.