What is the PBMP?

The Pompeii Bibliography and Mapping Project is working to create a unique resource that binds two resources in a single, online location. The first is a database of citations and full-text repository relating to the ancient city of Pompeii.  The second is a Geographical Information System (GIS) map of that ancient city. The PBMP’s ultimate goal is online interface that will allow a user to navigate the bibliographic database and repository via the GIS map or, conversely, to illustrate places in the GIS map found in a search of the database or repository. These components are described in greater detail in the following sections.

Bibliographic Database – Based on the more than 18,000 references detailed in L. García y García’s landmark publication, Nova Bibliotheca Pompeiana (vols I-III), the bibliographic database is designed to be an exhaustive catalog of all works related to Pompeii. Although the Nova  Bibliotheca Pompeiana is the core of the database, works produced  after 2011 when volume III of the Nova Bibliotheca Pompeiana was published are being incorporated.

Geographical Information System (GIS) – The online GIS is a dynamic map of the places and objects in ancient Pompeii. Its most basic function is to allow a user to navigate the physical landscape of the ancient city. The current GIS is exceptionally robust: more than 15,000 objects and properties are contained in over 400 files. In its current iteration, ESRI’s ArcGIS Online platform is  used to display and deliver these a subset of these files. In addition to navigating via the online map, users are able to download the base files and perform more advanced analyses and/or modify their geometry based on new archaeological interpretations. We hope that in the future, scholars will upload those new files back to the PBMP for use (navigation or download by others) of those alternate interpretations.

Interface – Both components eventually will be accessed via a single user interface. Users will be able to begin their search via the GIS map or the bibliographic database, a choice that will determine the search environment. For example, as the user selects a place or places in the map, the right side of the interface will display all available information for that place, from simple citations to full-text documents. In this way, using the GIS interface can be imagined as moving the map over the top of a pyramid, to the apex of a unique and structured set of citations and references that lead down to a vast repository of articles, books, and images. Should the user prefer to explore the bibliographic database and full-text repository, the interface will adjust to provide more space for standard bibliographic and full-text search tools. When a search is conducted and records are selected, relevant locations appear highlighted in the reduced sized GIS map. In this way, the metaphorical topical landscapes within the scholarship on Pompeii can be not only expressed as a list, but also can be visualized and given physical structure in the map. The act of searching the subject repository thus creates an instant gazeteer of the results that can be used with the list of citations.