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pairs of emblems;
pairs of emblem fragments, within a single emblem or in different emblems (or emblem
books, or even sites);
"events": any n-way relation between named emblem fragments.These "events" can be
used to index any thing that "happens" in the emblems, such as: Cupid looking at his
mistress, a sunflower pointing towards the sun, etc.
As to the index content, the first possibility is that the index simply lists the presence of the
occurrences.The index then is a subset or list of emblems, of emblem fragments, of emblem pairs,
or emblem fragment pairs, or n-tuples (events).Alternatively, the index may assign a value to the
occurrence of some feature or property, e.g., in an index on Iconclass terms. Finally, an index may
contain some form of annotation about the occurrence's presence in the index, or why it has
been assigned a certain value.
Th e P u b l i c I n d e x Fe a t u re a t E P U
EPU is an emblem digitization project based at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
7
Its aim
is the digitization of about 25 books of Dutch love emblems.The love emblem was a specifical-
ly Dutch contribution to the emblem genre and enjoyed wide popularity all over Europe dur-
ing the seventeenth century.
At EPU we are working on what we call a Public Index Feature (EPU-PIF). EPU-PIF will
allow researchers external to the project to create indexes to the emblems on the EPU site, in
order to facilitate the display of partial EPU collections without EPU involvement. Indexes can
be generated, described, built, validated, modified, and displayed. Researchers and end users will
be able to select and define the display definitions used in the display of the collection.
Recalling our earlier claim about the relation between indexes and scholarly communication,
we could say that the EPU Public Index Feature is a universal tool for the writing, exchange, and
reading of scholarly communication on the emblem.That may be an extravagant claim, and we
should qualify it. A scholarly paper will usually be more than an annotated index.The EPU site
as yet houses only a small collection of emblems, and not all necessary index types are available
there.While the PIF's functionality perhaps needs extension, our claim about the importance of
the index concept is nevertheless valid.
P u b l i c I n d e x Fe a t u re : P re s e n t s t a t e
EPU-PIF at present can be used for generating, building, modifying, and displaying emblem
lists. Emblem fragment lists at present can only be displayed. Building and modifying emblem
fragment lists are the next planned extensions.
Technically, the index is an XML file that contains RDF statements. EPU-PIF helps
researchers build the file, which they then save on their own machine. In a hyperlink to the
EPU-PIF page, the filename is then used to tell EPU-PIF which index data to display. The
upshot of this is that researchers now have the option of indexing the EPU site according to
their own research interests.
We chose RDF as the data format because of its ability to accommodate metadata of arbitrary
complexity.
8
RDF Schema provides an ontology language that insures that complex data can still
be validated.
9
For validation we use an RDF validator, such as VRP.
10
The Public Index Feature works as follows. Suppose researchers create an index and place it
on their own site, let us say at the fictional site www.myresearch.org/myindex.xml. Suppose they
7
The EPU is funded by NWO, the
Netherlands Organisation for Scien-
tific Research.
8
Graham Klyne and Jeremy J. Car-
roll, Resource Description Framework
(RDF): Concepts and Abstract Syntax,
W3C Recommendation 10 Febru-
ary 2004, http://www.w3.org/TR/
rdf-concepts/.
9
Dan Brickley and Ramanathan V.
Guha, RDF Vocabulary Description
Language 1.0: RDF Schema,W3C
Recommendation 10 February
2004, http:// www.w3.org/TR/
rdf-schema/.
10
The Validating RDF Parser (VRP)
checks syntactical validity and a great
number of semantic constraints. See:
http://139.91.183.30:9090/RDF/
VRP/.
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