Non-Geographic Spatial Search in a Specialized Academic Digital Library

By Leta Hunt, Marilyn Lundberg and Bruce Zuckerman.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The potential of a non-geographical spatial search has been suggested for use in specialized digital libraries in cases where a spatial relationship between digital objects is unambiguous and conventional references are ineffective or inadequate in describing and integrating the digital objects. This paper discusses a non-geographical, geometric spatial search implemented in a specialized academic digital library called InscriptiFact. InscriptiFact is a database application that delivers high quality, high resolution images of ancient inscriptions from the Near Eastern and Mediterranean regions to archaeologists, linguists, epigraphers, philologists and other specialists, scholars and students involved in decipherment and reconstruction of such ancient texts. The opportunity to develop verifiable readings and scholarly interpretations of ancient inscriptions is based primarily on the capacity to distinguish the writing from damage resulting from centuries of deterioration. To facilitate this task, numerous images may be produced of each text using different imaging technologies, lighting, film types and at varying magnification. InscriptiFact brings together images of text-fragments that may be scattered in various institutions throughout the world, so that they may be viewed and compared. Several strategies are used in InscriptiFact to facilitate user-friendly, intuitive access. One of these is a non-geographic, geometric spatial search. This paper discusses the utility of the InscriptiFact spatial search. It discusses the problem that InscriptiFact’s spatial search solves, the underlying geometric spatial models used, and the methodology of the spatial referencing and retrieval processes.

Keywords: Spatial Search, Non-Geographic Spatial Search, Digital Library, InscriptiFact, West Semitic Research Project, Near East, Inscriptions

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.127-136. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.662MB).

Dr. Leta Hunt

Associate Director InscriptiFact, USC Libraries, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA

Dr. Leta Hunt is Associate Director of the InscriptiFact Project at the University of Southern California. She is primarily responsible for application and system development of the InscriptiFact database application. She has been involved in management of software development projects for the last twelve years and with InscriptiFact since its inception. She has published a variety of papers on spatial search, accessibility to spatially referenced digital data, spatial organization, and digital preservation. She has a Ph.D. in psychology and a M.S. in library and information science.

Dr. Marilyn Lundberg

Associate Director West Semitic Research Project, School of Religion, West Semitic Research, Rolling Hills Estates, California, USA

Dr. Marilyn Lundberg is Associate Director of the West Semitic Research Project of the University of Southern California, and Associate Director for Ingest/Cataloguing of the InscriptiFact Project. She is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. She received her Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University in Religion (Old Testament). Dr. Lundberg has participated in many WSRP photographic projects. She has authored several articles and is co-editor of The Dead Sea Scrolls Catalogue published by Scholars Press in 1994, and with Bruce Zuckerman, Associate Editor of The Leningrad Codex: A Facsimile Edition.

Dr. Bruce Zuckerman

Professor of Hebrew Bible, School of Religion, University of Southern California, Rolling Hills Estates, California, USA

Dr. Bruce Zuckerman is Director of the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life; Professor of Hebrew Bible, School of Religion; Director of the West Semitic and InscriptiFact Projects; and Director of the Archaeological Research Collection; Distinguished faculty fellow, Center for Excellence in Teaching. He received his Ph.D. in ancient Near Eastern Languages from Yale University and was subsequently an Associate of the Harvard Semitic Museum before joining the USC faculty in 1980. He has published or edited three books and authored numerous articles. His photographs have been featured in many scholarly publications as well as in a number of popular venues.

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