Athar : Numérisation, Indexation Et Mise En Ligne Enrichie Des Bulletins Du Comité De Conservation Des Monuments De L’Art Arabe (1882-1953)

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Hélène Bégnis

    Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (ENS de Lyon)

  2. 2. Pierre Mounier

    INVISU - Institut national d'histoire de l'art

Work text
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The Athar project (from Arabic traces or footprints,

and by extension monuments or antiques) makes available, in open access, all of the work of the Committee for the Conservation of Art Monuments

Arab (1882-1953), body created in Cairo to inventory, describe and restore the Islamic then Coptic monuments of Egypt. Based on the reports of the Historic Monuments Commission in France , this annual publication, written in French, now extinct and free of rights, consists of 41 volumes published in Cairo between 1882 and 1953, totaling 8,000 pages and nearly 800 boards. This corpus sometimes brings together the only documentation still remaining on disappeared, very degraded or radically transformed monuments. Through his illustrations, he finds himself in relation to the rich backgrounds of commercial photography present in Cairo from 1860, disseminated increasingly on Gallica and Europeana. The partners

This project is the result of a fruitful collaboration between three structures from the French scientific and university world: the InVisu laboratory , the French Institute of Oriental Archeology and

Persee . Complementary expertise from each of these partners was essential to successfully complete this project. The InVisu laboratory, thanks to its documentary know-how, took charge of the fine structuring of the corpus and the indexing of toponyms using the Cairo Gazetteer .This multilingual repository (French, Arabic, English) makes it possible to identify, describe and finely locate the 600 buildings classified as Cairo as historic monuments by proposing the orthographic variants of these toponyms. The IFAO allowed the completion of the collection by lending the missing volumes and brought its skills on Egyptian toponymy and cartography. Persee, thanks to its expertise of more than 10 years in the field of digitization, oceration and dissemination of scientific heritage, has put its technical platform at the service of the project (JGAlith: integrated and complete application, developed by Persee, which allows ''

Technologies and formats, use of Linked Open Data

The technologies and formats used are based on the norms and standards in force in the context of open access and interoperability. The metadata generated by the structuring of the corpus are encoded in XML format according to the Dublin Core, MarcXML and MODS schemas . The full text from the uncorrected OCR is available according to the TEI scheme and all of the data is described and organized in an XML container in METS format . The content of the Cairo Gazetteer, deployed thanks to Ginco(terminology repository management tool), is made available to the digital humanities community through the SKOS format. It offers an innovative solution to solve the difficulties linked to the transliteration of Arabic toponyms.

Figure 2. Cairo Gazetteer data encoded in RDF

Illustration 1. A sheet of the Cairo Gazetteer

Illustration 4. In JGalith, selection of the monument to link to the corresponding label in the Cairo Gazetteer

Links to two repositories available at international level have been inserted in the data for structuring the corpus: IdRef for the authors and the Cairo Gazetteer for the buildings. These links make it possible to deduce alignments to complementary external resources such as, DBpedia, Subject Headings of the Library of Congress and GeoNames. The development and implementation by the IT team of Persee of a specific module in the JGALITH platform was necessary to carry out this step.

Illustration 3. In JGalith, inclusion of a <name> tag in the title of the article pointing to the corresponding named entity in the Cairo Gazetteer

Dissemination of the corpus

The dissemination of this corpus is currently

performed on the Persée portal.

By 2017-2019, a corpus site will be developed by Persee, thereby evolving its service offer. All the data produced and aggregated as part of the Athar project will be integrated into a larger ecosystem to provide richer, more complete and centralized information for the user of the dedicated site. Composite pages constructed from the data produced by the Persee chain and those recovered through alignment with the selected external repositories will also be developed. They will complement the range of navigation and exploration functionalities (author index, table of contents, cross-references, table of illustrations) already implemented in the Persee portal. In addition to webcasting, data exposure through Bibliography

Perrin, E. (2015). “Cairo Gazetteer: a thesaurus to identify the monuments of Cairo”. 6th days of the Medici network. Multilingualism: brake or catalyst for scientific dissemination in Europe and the Mediterranean? Marseille: Medici network. Available at: [Viewing March 31, 2017].

Perrin, E. (2014). “Tools, methods, corpus: the

modeling of data in SHS. In Day of web study of data and human and social sciences. Paris. Available at: [Consulted March 31, 2017].

Perrin, E. & Mounier, P. (2015). “Structure, link and disseminate data with semantic web technologies”. INHA digital Mondays. Paris. Available at: semantic.html [ Accessed March 31, 2017].

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