RDFa used in classification of ancient ceramics

05 Dec 2008

Like everyone involved in RDFa, I love seeing people use it to express information about themselves, using vCards, FOAF relationships, event information and so on. This type of information is often the first to get processed by new semantic technologies such as RDFa.

But to be honest, this is simple stuff. The real meat of RDFa is to be able to express much more complex collections of information, using nothing more than the tools of web-publishing.

So I was pleased to stumble across a blog post about an impressive use of RDFa -- a large XHTML document, containing lots of information about ancient ceramics.

It seems that archealogical information collection at Ilion (the ancient name for Troy) is being collated in a database called GRBPIllion (which stands for Greek, Roman and Byzantine Pottery at Ilion). As with any project of this scale, a key issue is how to make the information -- such as descriptions, categorisations, drawings and photographs -- available to as many people as possible.

After all, exciting as many of the finds are, there are also many fields in which this kind of information could lead to new theories or discoveries that are one step removed from the original find, and it's exciting to see that RDFa may help in the publication of this data.

The blog post in question is called RDFa at Ilion.

And now for no reason other than I like the serendipity (the picture was taken about a month before I saw the blog post), here's a picture of my two sons, looking at Herakles (Hercules) fighting the Nemean lion on an ancient Greek vase, in the British Museum:

Herakles fighting a lion on a vase

Not a great picture, I'm afraid, but it is the longest that they stood still all day.