What is Pelagios Commons? Pelagios Commons is a community & infrastructure for Linked Open Geodata in the Humanities.
What does that mean exactly? Linked Open Data is an old idea that is slowly coming of age. Essentially Linked Data is a way of connecting online resources that have something in common. To some extent this occurs already with standard HTML hyperlinks, but these provide only unilateral (one-directional) links between specific documents. The technologies behind Linked Open Data allow us to introduce meta-links that create multi-lateral connections between clusters of content related to a specific concept. In our case that concept is geographic (hence geodata): Pelagios links historical materials through their common reference to particular places.
In what way is it a community? The Web is just as much a human phenomenon as a technical one. Any initiative that proposes to link resources together is inherently social in nature. If we are to form healthy ecologies of dynamically interacting Web resources, we must collaborate to establish processes which create long-lasting mutual benefit. Pelagios Commons offers online forums and real world events which allow anyone with an interest in connecting the past together to get involved. No technical experience is required (although techies are extremely welcome too!). Pelagios Commons is also part of a wider ecosystem of projects dedicated to interlinking online resources about the past.