This page offers help on using the I.Sicily site, and in particular how to:
It is important to keep in mind that I.Sicily has two main aims, and has been constructed accordingly:
- to present and maintain citable full editions of individual inscriptions
- to enable rapid searching, identification and use of the full set of inscriptions from Sicily.
- To make a continually improving body of data available for the study of the epigraphy of Sicily, whether through collaboration within the project, or through the export and re-use of the available data.
How to cite I.Sicily
The simplest way to reference an inscription in I.Sicily is in the form ISic0298. Each inscription in I.Sicily has a unique number: this is a four-digit number preceded by the ISic abbreviation, so e.g. ISic0298. (The number itself is without deeper significance, and only reflects the order in which texts were added to the corpus.)
Each I.Sicily number can be resolved as a URI inthe form sicily.classics.ox.ac.uk/inscription/ISic0298. Since one of the primary aims of I.Sicily is to act as a concordance and unique identifier for Sicilian inscriptions, we hope that eventually use of the I.Sicily number will be enough to identify a text (not least because visiting the I.Sicily page for any inscription should provide access to all the other references for that inscription). The URIs can be used by any other online resource.
Note that I.Sicily inscriptions can also be uniquely identified by the Trismegistos number. Users should note that there are very minor differences between how I.Sicily and Trismegistos identify a unique inscription, with the result that the alignment between these two resources is not 100% (it’s probably about 99.8%). It should also be noted that new material is usually added first to I.Sicily, and only subsequently assigned identifiers in Trismegistos.
For full formal citation (e.g. in a publication), referencing the current version (or an archived past version) of the online edition, it is appropriate to give the full URI together with the date on which the page was accessed, and also the authorship of the record in question. The list of contributors is detailed at the foot of the page of each inscription. The precise format will vary depending on the bibliographic rules being followed, but, as a minimum we would suggest, e.g.
J. Prag, J. Cummings, J. Chartrand, V. Vitale and M. Metcalfe, http://sicily.classics.ox.ac.uk/inscription/ISic0298, I.Sicily (accessed 09.11.2016).
How to search and filter the data in I.Sicily
- map-based search
- table-based search and filter
- free-text search
- bibliographic filters
- museum-based search
- bibliography-based search
The landing page presents the primary search interface containing the first four of these search options. Separate pages present the museum database and the bibliographic database. In order to have a better understanding of the range of data held in I.Sicily and the potential limits to any search, we recommend that serious users consult the ‘data and data categories‘ page on this site.
The slight delay in initially loading the I.Sicily site is due to the fact that all the data is loaded into your local browser when you first visit the site. This means that all searches and filters can then be applied instantly and dynamically, allowing you instantly to see the effect of any particular search or filter.
At any point, clicking on the ‘reset filters’ button below the map on the front page will remove any search or filter and restore the full data set.
The map on the front page displays origin locations for individual inscriptions ((not individual findspots, but city of origin; the size of the icon corresponds to the number of inscriptions at the location). Clicking on a location icon will create a pop-up which gives the name and representative co-ordinates of the location, together with a clickable list of ISicily numbers for inscriptions attributed to the location. The main table below the map will automatically apply the selected location filter and will show only the inscriptions attributed to that location.
The map will also automatically update to show the locations of the inscriptions identified when searches or filters are applied to the main table below (see next section).
Table-based search and filter
The main table on the front page (kindly provided by ag-grid) allows highly flexible spreadsheet-like filtering and searching on every data field. Each row represents an individual inscription. Clicking on any cell will cause a pop-up to appear containing the title and text of the inscription, and the option to open the full page for that inscription. Additionally, the table can be easily manipulated to include other columns by clicking on the ‘column picker’ button, and then selecting additional fields (see right). By default, columns for individual corpora, and the longer fields such as commentary, text and translation are not shown. The order of individual columns can be changed simply by clicking and holding on the column header and dragging it to the preferred location. Column widths can also be adjusted by clicking and dragging.
The data in an individual field (i.e. column) can be ordered alphabetically / numerically simply by clicking on the column header (note empty fields will be listed first in this case). More detailed search/filter of a column can be obtained by hovering over the column header so that a menu button appears; clicking on the menu button will open a dropdown menu, with several options. Clicking on the middle button (the filter symbol) will open a search dialogue which contains all the unique entries in that field, and a text entry box through which you can filter the field (entry here is responsive, so you can immediately see if your term corresponds to anything in the data set). Unchecking the ‘select all’ box and then checking any data groups that you wish to display will apply that filter to the table as a whole. The number of inscriptions returned by your search is continuously displayed to the top left of the table.
Filtering on dates can be done using equal to, greater than, or less than options on the ‘before’ and ‘after’ date columns. Please note that to filter on BC dates it is necessary to place a minus sign before the number. So, for instance, to find inscriptions dated between 400 and 200 BC, set the date ‘After’ column filter to greater than -0400 and the date ‘Before’ column filter to less than -0200.
It is possible to run a free-text search across all the EpiDoc XML files using the ‘filter by text’ text-entry box to the bottom right of the map.
Text entered in this box searches across all the fields in the files (elements in the TEI), including those which are not displayed in the table, with the result that it may produce results which do not immediately seem to correspond to what you can see on the visible table. This can be a powerful way to find inscriptions with particular names or terms, or other relatively unique features, particularly in the current state of the dataset. However, it is important to realise that the current dataset does not yet, for example, include full texts and translations for all inscriptions, so a non-return does not mean that an inscription is not present in the dataset, nor that a particular name, feature, or other element is not actually present in the Sicilian corpus. Over time, as the mark-up of inscriptions becomes more comprehensive, we shall add specific indexes for key elements such as names and for the searching of the actual epigraphic texts in isolation. Note too that it is possible to search for Greek terms in this box, by entering Greek characters directly (either via a polytonic keyboard, or by pasting from another source) – however, at present this search box differentiates between accented and unaccented letters (and the same caveat applies, that not all texts are fully entered and with limited mark-up). The free-text box currently does not support e.g. wildcards and other operators.
It is possible to apply a powerful set of bibliographic filters to the main table. The entire bibliography for I.Sicily is held in a single Zotero bibliography (see below on bibliography-based searching and the separate page on data categories). For searching and filtering on this page we have arbitrarily split the bibliography into ‘corpora’ (substantial and frequently cited collections) and ‘bibliography’ , with the result that there are two separate bibliography filter boxes above the main table:
Clicking in the ‘Filter by corpora…’ box will generate a drop down list of corpora. Clicking on any one of these will apply that corpus as a filter, and the table will be transformed into a table of inscriptions from that corpus. A column will be added to the table displaying the reference to the corpus for each inscription included. It is possible to select more than one corpus. Selecting the ‘Match all corpus…’ check-button below the filter box will apply the equivalent of an ‘and’ operator – in other words, only inscriptions which appear in all of the corpora selected will be displayed in the table; selecting the ‘Match any corpus…’ button will instead apply an ‘or’ operator – all inscriptions appearing in any one (or more) of the selected corpora will be displayed. Using these filters it becomes possible therefore to generate ad hoc concordances between any corpus included in the I.Sicily dataset (and note that this can then be exported as a csv file using the link at the foot of the table).
It is also possible to add columns to the table for the individual corpora for general searching purposes without immediately filtering the table, using the column picker on the right hand side of the table.
Clicking in the ‘Filter by publication…’ box will instead generate a drop-down list of all the publications registered in the I.Sicily bibliography. Typing the name of an author in this box will filter the list responsively enabling you to narrow down your selection more quickly. The table will then display inscriptions registered in the publication(s) selected. This can be useful for quick finding if you know the publication / author, or for the creation of concordances between a specific publication and one or more copora. Specific searching and listing of inscriptions by publication may however be easier using the separate bibliography page.
I.Sicily includes a database of archaeological collections on the island of Sicily (this is slowly being expanded to contain a list of all the maintained archaeological sites also). This is presented on a separate museums page of the site. Each museum has a separate page (with a permanent URI, e.g., http://sicily.classics.ox.ac.uk/museum/2). The search interface for finding specific museums is the same as that for the inscriptions, offering map-based and table-based searching.
Clicking on any icon on the map will open up a pop-up with information on the museum, a clickable list of the inscriptions at the museum, and links to the I.Sicily page for the museum and also the Google page for the museum if known.
The table below the map can be searched and filtered in the same way as the inscriptions table on the main page of the site. Clicking on any cell/row will open the page for the individual museum.
The individual museum pages contain basic location and other information about the museum, together with a table of the inscriptions known to be in the collection of that particular museum (effectively a catalogue of the inscriptions of the museum). This table has the same format as the main front-page inscriptions table and can be searched and filtered in all the same ways, but the searches are limited to the collection of the museum.
The bibliography for I.Sicily is maintained in a separate, free and open Zotero bibliography at: https://www.zotero.org/groups/382445/isicily/items.
To facilitate bibliography-based searching, however, a local version of the bibliography is maintained in the site, drawn from the Zotero bibliography, at: http://sicily.classics.ox.ac.uk/publications.
This presents the bibliography in a summary form through another table, which can be searched and filtered in the same way as the other tables, either using the filters available by moving the mouse over the individual column headers, or through the free-text filter box upper right. It is also possible to view the table grouped by author (click on ‘group by author’). Clicking on any individual item in the table will open up a new page for the individual publication, which includes a fully searchable/filterable table detailing the inscriptions in that individual publication.
At each stage, the link to the full Zotero record is included. It is possible to export individual publication records (or the entire bibliography) from Zotero in multiple formats.
How to contribute to I.Sicily
If you wish to contribute to I.Sicily – whether to correct / improve existing records, provide new images, contribute or edit complete new records, or discuss the possibilities of expanding the existing mark-up in new directions, there are several routes to do so. In the first instance, you are warmly invited in any case to write directly to the project director, Professor Jonathan Prag, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to provide a correction, amendment, or other piece of information – or provide the data for a new inscription, it is possible to do this directly through the I.Sicily website. If you wish to contribute through the website, you must register with the site first (this is simply a security measure). To do so, click on the admin menu button to the right of the Oxford university logo top right of the site (highlighted in yellow in this image). At the log-in screen choose ‘click here to sign up’. Once you have registered, you can either submit information on a new inscription which you believe to be missing from the site, or offer corrections to existing records. To submit a new record, return to the main front page and select the ‘submit new inscription’ option at the bottom right of the main table, and then follow the instructions on the form, filling in as much as you are able. The form will automatically populate an EpiDoc file, and the editor of the site will then be in touch to discuss the creation of the full new record.
If you simply wish to offer corrections to an existing record, then open the relevant record and click on the comment button next to the heading of the relevant section that you wish to correct. This will open a dialogue box through which you may submit your correction(s). The editors will check your correction and incorporate it as soon as possible. To submit new images, click on the link below the inscription image.
All contributors, whatever the size of the contribution, will receive full acknowledgement for their contributions, and will be added to the contributor list for the particular record and/or registered as the principal contributor where they have authored the majority of the record.
I.Sicily in GitHub. An alternative way to contribute, if you wish to join in the longer-term task of editing individual files in EpiDoc, is through the I.Sicily GitHub repository. This requires firstly that you register an account on GitHub, and secondly that you have a basic familiarity with the protocols of using GitHub (forking, pull requests, etc.). Working on the files in this context requires that you are entirely comfortable working in EpiDoc XML, whether working directly in the GitHub window or else, more powerfully, downloading the files to work on locally in your preferred XML editor, such as oXgyen. All of the I.Sicily epidoc files, together with various supporting authority lists, are now managed in GitHub, from where the files are exported to the server in the Oxford Classics Faculty where the main I.Sicily site is hosted. If you wish to collaborate in editing via GitHub, we would ask you to fork the I.Sicily repository and then make a pull request for the assessment and incorporation of your edits. It is advisable to contact us directly in advance.
All data in I.Sicily is available for download and re-use under a CC-BY 4.0 licence – in other words, free use, but please give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests that I.Sicily endorses you or your use. There are a number of ways in which you can access and export the data in I.Sicily.
1. Individual EpiDoc file download: It is possible to download the individual epidoc XML file for any single inscription (using the button or link at the foot of each individual inscription page).
2. Global EpiDoc file download: It is possible to download the complete set of epidoc files which generate the current website editions as a zip file, using the text link at the foot of the main table.
3. Metadata export in csv: From the adjacent link (see above) at the foot of the main table, it is possible to export any table-based search or filter as a csv file (remember that it is possible to customise the fields on the table, as well as filter).
4. PDF copy of individual inscription records: a version of the human-readable html edition of individual records can be printed, or saved as a pdf, using the print button at the top of the individual record, immediately below the images.
5. GitHub repository: All the I.Sicily epidoc files are also hosted in a GitHub repository, in the ‘inscriptions’ folder and are freely available there also for forking and downloading. The GitHub repository is currently used to manage workflow and editing; the current version of files in the master branch of the repository can normally be assumed to be identical with the version presented on the I.Sicily website.
6. Zenodo: A trial release of the GitHub repository is now available on Zenodo at:
This is currently a single upload of the entire file set, as of 4 February 2019. We are currently working towards developing a more developed Zenodo upload, from which all individual files can be identified at each revision through a DOI.