When I was at the International Numismatic Congress, I went to a workshop on the Digital SNG project. Since I am currently involved in a digitization project, I was excited to hear about collaborative opportunities for the electronic networking of various collections in addition to the SNG project.
Andrew Meadows and Sebastian Heath presented on the Digital IGCH (Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards) project and the ability of collectors, auction houses, or institutions to link records of coins from those hoards to the Digital IGCH. Individual specimens can be linked to the relevant IGCH page on the website, in essence reconstructing the hoard's contents virtually. Digital IGCH is part of the Nomisma.org website, run by the American Numismatic Society. Sebastian discusses digital initiatives from time to time on his website.
After I got back to the States, I went down to the American Numsimatic Society to visit with colleagues and to discuss the project more with Sebastian and then began to see what we could contribute to Nomisma.
So far the Art Gallery's coins linked to Nomisma.org include those from IGCH 1546 (Aleppo Hoard) and IGCH 1534 (Bab Hoard). The four coins from IGCH 1546 are mapped on Nomisma, but the records do not yet have photographs - these will soon be forthcoming as digitization progresses. The collection's holdings of IGCH 1534 are much more extensive with 209 drachms. All are photographed, but due to the high number of coins, Sebastian decided not to map the hoard yet since it is still uncertain how they want to set up the pages on the Nomisma website. The project and its format continues to be developed.
Some may find the individual coin records unsatisfactory in their description and detail since the numismatic records are only viewable through the same interface used for other artworks in the Art Gallery's collection. Therefore, much of the internal information entered is not viewable online. I myself was surprised to learn that after taking the time to assign updated references from Price for all 209 Alexander drachms that those new references would not be visible online. But one can hope that in the future the interface can be adapted as more numismatic records continue to go online everyday. In any case, that information is available internally and can be made available to researchers.
The Art Gallery's coins from IGCH 242, the Achaean League hoard, will soon be linked to Nomisma as well. Several other hoard coins in the Yale collection will be noted as they come up in the course of digitization and submitted to Nomisma for linking. I look forward to seeing how this digital initiative through Nomisma develops as we continue to experiment with it.
Photo: Silver drachm of Alexander III from IGCH 1534 (Yale 2001.87.10401)