It’s time to announce some great news. Google have been very happy with the first phase of GAP and so have kindly agreed to provide us with additional funding to take us into new territory. This is exciting for a number of reasons. The first is obviously that we, too, have been very happy with GAP’s direction of travel, especially with regard to our partnerships with other projects and teams – particularly Pelagios, Pleiades, the Edinburgh GeoParser and Bamboo. These have been strong collaborations to the benefit of all parties and we look forward to continuing them. The second is that in the next phase there is much less ‘preparatory’ work to do. Last year’s results have given us a solid foundation that allows us to delve straight into new issues. These are likely to include:
- Greatly expanding the number of texts. There are currently 27 texts (including several duplicates) on GapVis. In the next months we intend to increase that to several hundred.
- Using the data from multiple books both to help automatically identify different versions of the same text, but also to explore ‘self-correcting’ algorithms that notice mismatches between the place annotation lists and automatically amend them.
- Improving the crowd sourcing aspects of the project. Automatically generated data can never be perfect. We already have limited functionality for user comments but we’d like to develop a simple but robust system so that users can correct false identifications and even propose new ones.
- Humanistic research. We’d intend to take on a few humanistic research questions and see whether our tools help to address them. Do classical poets really have a fixation with Arcadia? How do antique Geographers choose to serialize a two dimensional geo-space into a one-dimensional text?
- More collaboration. We are not the only project to be doing geo-annotation (Pelagios is evidence of that). We will continue to compare and connect our results to work being undertaken by others.
Finally, we are delighted to say that our merry band has now formally expanded to five as Kate Byrne and Nick Rabinowitz join us as official Investigators on the project. Of course, they were fundamental to the success of the first phase of GAP and this new role properly recognizes that fact.
We can’t wait to get going on activities that will open up yet more ways of exploring and interacting with Ancient World and we look forward to your ever helpful advice, comments and reflections along the way.
Regards, The GAP Team