Arachne (archaeological database)

Arachne is the central Object database of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI ) and the Center for Digital Archaeology (formerly the Research Archive for Ancient Sculpture ) at the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne, administrated by Reinhard Foertsch. Arachne should help tap objects and states as free internet research tool for archeology (s ) and the Classical Studies and make hundreds of thousands of records found quickly. This applies on the one hand for the area of ​​long-standing analog documentation stocks that are partially disintegrating threatened and unexplored: here Active Digital services will be operated. It is true but on the other hand, for the range of increasingly exuberant new production of digital object and image data: here applies a low- lish wavy foregoing allocation that used at the level of machine-readable metadata strategies of the Semantic Web. All digitized, visual and textual object information is on a multiple redundant Tivoli Storage system with long-term secured and held the world online in Cologne Storage Area Network via AFS.

Organization and concept

Since 2004 Arachne is operated by a consortium in which the DAI and the job belonging for Digital Archaeology of the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne. The goal is the content and techniques, Arachne is therefore not a closed web database, but work in progress.

The database design of Arachne uses a world model, which two of the most basic conditions proceeds in archeology or art history: all objects in the "real world" should be comparable on a very general level and are in a context before. So Arachne tried to avoid one of the fundamental flaws of earlier databases, which completed its object modeling purely project-based, so separate departments with only a small number of objects created, which were not mutually comparable, but lead a mutually insular existence. All objects in Arachne, however, have a common basis of attributes in the object model, which are enhanced by class-specific attributes, such as topography or architecture. Thus, the general attributes for queries over a large number of objects can be used during specific queries can also find only objects of this category, which carry these attributes and selbige represent fully contextualized.

Arachne tried to create interoperability between different systems and to protect the copyrights of the producers - one of the key areas of collaboration with the DAI. Even within the DAI interoperability is becoming increasingly important, especially between Arachne as a central image database and the different used on excavations and surveys GIS to keep the non-security redundancy in data storage to a minimum. Another project on the part of the DAI is to provide URIs (Universal Resource Identifier) ​​for all objects digitally recorded. The incorporation of the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model and the Open Archives Initiative ( OAI) is of great importance, and as a partner in a project CLAROSnet is - so far missing - multilingual interface created. The policy of the Center for Digital Archaeology ( CoDArchLab ) and SGI are aimed at international cooperation to not address these complex problems alone.

Arachne currently has over 8500 registered users who have access to over a million scans and more than 300,000 objects have (as of week 14, 2013). Its use is free. The quality is of course different, depending on the origin of the image and status of the documentation. Predictions about the achievable digitization shares based on the real data, are inherently difficult. An approximate value can possibly win in the area of ​​digitization projects of cultural heritage in Europe, where one starts considering in the current financial situation of the be digitized about 30 % of the physical inventory. For Arachne the approximately 700,000 images would mean; under the assumption of newly produced documentary material about one million images in 20 to 30 years would then be realistic. All of these images would then at least in terms of material and topographical situation fully interrogated, even the Focus would then no longer are alone in the classical antiquity, but also include other areas such as South America.

History of development

Arachne was developed in 1995 as a FileMaker solution and profits since 2001 by the establishment of a Chair for Historical and Cultural Information Processing at the University of Cologne, whose students use Arachne as a test environment for serious, realistic programming projects.

Thanks to the continuous and significant support from the German Research Foundation integrates Arachne since 2001 and negative archives, which have significantly extended the Cologne stocks. So the archives of photographers Barbara Malter and Gisela Fittschen - Badura were digitized and documented, and since 2003 the sculptures negatives of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome. Thus, the database grew by 40,000 high quality digital images of ancient sculpture, which have been scientifically documented.

2004 Arachne was fundamentally restructured, both in terms of the technology, as well as semantic- editorial. The data from the FileMaker solution were exported, and placed the new Arachne as MAMP solution. Considering Arachne's strategic positioning as a central object database of an institution that is home to about two million images in their archives and continuously produces new material and image data can be adjusted from this measure also the future work and development effort to make this information assets at least partially and gradually to capture.

Since 2006, it came as part of the project " Emagines " to digitize the glass negative holdings of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens, Cairo and Istanbul. This image collections ( approximately 85,000 sets of image data ) were integrated into the Arachne database and made ​​publicly available. Further image stocks were prepared by the project launched in 2009 " Berlin Sculpture Network - Contextualization and Interpretation of Ancient Sculpture " opened up. The project is in the final stages and aims to reconstruct the original context of the sculptures of the Berlin Collection of Classical Antiquities, to derive spatial, functional and contextual relationships.

Current Projects

Currently antiquity in the semantic network ( engraving plant project ) are provided completely digitized, altertumswissenschaftliche printed works from the 16th to the 19th centuries that are copyright- free today on the iDAI.Bookbrowser under the project title reception. The items shown in the engraving works are thereby linked with the object records of Arachne, what has already been done exemplarily with the catalogs Scipione Maffei in 1749 and the Musée de Sculpture antique et moderne Claracs of 1828. To date, over 1300 engravings were together with more than 300,000 pages digitized (as of Week 12, 2013), these are freely accessible and can be commented on. They are also integrated into the portal Propylaeum, the Virtual Library Classical Studies. An important part of the area thereby resulting Idai -book browser is the " CIL Open Access " project, which provides copyright-free volumes of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum as digital copies available. So far 53 volumes of this series accessible for free ( As of October 2012).

The DAI takes on the online database Arachne participate as a co-applicant on multinational European project Carare. The object of this project is the integration of content from the areas of archaeological and architectural heritage items in Europeana, an online service that aims to bring together Europe's cultural heritage. The DAI is thereby put on Arachne the metadata of 120,000 digital copies of historic photographs on glass plate negatives available that were created mainly in the framework of the project " Emagines ".

A further joint project of Arachne is the " Hellespontprojekt: the integration of Arachne and Perseus ". As a partner of the German Archaeological Institute cooperates CoDArchLab with the Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University, to combine the digital resources for classical studies of both institutions. This one of the most extensive and also free standing ready for public and scientific use online resources to Greco-Roman antiquity is created. Core of the Hellespont project is the combination of text and object data based on the metadata format CIDOC CRM. As a starting point for the integration of both data sets, the material world is in Thucydides ' Pentekontaetie ( Thuc. 1.89 to 1.118 ), which should be followed by further parts of the text.

Further planning

On the roadmap of further technical development for the coming years is in addition to the further integration of new archaeological categories, a further structuring of the Thesaurus, an improved profile function and a flexible representation of search result sets. The problem of displaying large result sets is not an unknown web database, and Arachne wants the the implementation of a Topic Map model meet in order to allow the user to select between a more textual and a more graphical representation of the results back and forth.