Applying DCMI Elements to Digital Images and Text in the Archimedes Palimpsest Program

Michael Toth, Doug Emery


On 22 October, 1998, the only known copy of Archimedes’ key
mathematical and scientific works was sold at auction for $2.2 million. After a
decade of scientific study of this historic object, on October 22, 2008, the
approximately 2 terabytes of Archimedes Palimpsest image and transcription data will
be released to the public. A candidate release will be available for the 2008 Dublin
Core Conference. Standardized metadata using the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set is
essential for managing this large amount of data combining over 4,000 images and 130
pages of transcriptions in the Web 2.0 environment. Applying the Dublin Core
Metadata Standard to a variety of data sets containing different texts and images in
a dynamic technical environment offers a unique set of challenges. Following a
presentation to the 2006 Dublin Core Conference on use of the Dublin Core Metadata
Element Set in the Archimedes Palimpsest Program, the program team has continued to
refine its data dictionary and elements based on the Dublin Core standard and
feedback from the Dublin Core community. Since the 2006 conference, the amount of
data has grown tenfold with new imaging techniques. Use of the DCMI Standards will
allow the hosting and integration of this data set and other cultural works across a
range of services providers, libraries and cultural institutions. Inclusion of the
DCMI Standards as part of the data set will contribute to ensuring this data from an
over 1,000-year-old manuscript will be readily searchable, available and accessible
for decades to come.

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