Journey of the Hero

The Perseids Project is delighted to announce the release of the results of the Journey of the Hero pilot project, which combined undergraduate student research into Greek mythological characters with an adventure in reuse of annotation and visualization tools.

Students in Marie-Claire Beaulieu’s 2015 Journey of the Hero class at Tufts University, mentored by Teaching Assistants Anna Krohn and Michal Sagal, annotated entries in William Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. Software development by Bridget Almas and Thibault Clérice was made possible through a collaboration between the Perseids Project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at Leipzig.

A primary goal of Perseids is to encourage and enable reuse of tools, texts and data. We leveraged a number of existing projects to make the annotation workflow and publication of this data possible. Students used the open source browser plugin to annotate the text of Smith’s Dictionary on Perseus. We developed a prototype data transformation module for the Perseids platform to ingest and transform these annotations, allowing them to go through a review workflow. The transformation adds stable identifiers and applies controlled vocabulary terms from the SNAP and LAWD ontologies. The annotations are stored in a versioned repository and serialized as data adhering to the Open Annotation data model.

The interface in which the annotations are presented is a reuse of the GapVis interface for exploring and reading texts that reference ancient places. GapVis was originally developed by the Google Ancient Places project (see also the full list of GapVis team members.) We extended GapVis to add support for Open Annotations and for ingesting text from a Canonical Text Services endpoint.

We expect to continue to add to this data set in future classroom projects at Tufts. We will be working with the GapVis team to merge our modifications to the GapVis code back into the master code base and hope to work with the Pelagios and SNAP projects to make the place and person annotations available there as well.