Surface mentions

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This page should serve as a resource for the 2019-2020 Dumbarton Oaks Fellows. It is intended to help guide them through the process of ingesting and manipulating Surface Mention data inserted into the JSTOR Knowledge Graph using Google Sheets.

Please treat this as a living document and check back frequently for updates. If you are having issues with any stage of this process feel free to reach out to us via Slack or email.


Surface Mentions

To record Surface Mentions in a book or herbal, follow the steps below:

  1. First identify the plant that is mentioned in the book or herbal.
  2. Ensure the book is loaded into our local knowledge graph. If not proceed to our guide on loading items into our knowledge graph. In terms of order of operations, the book must exist in the local JSTOR Knowledge Graph before it can be used in our Surface Mention Spreadsheet.
  3. The Surface Mention spreadsheet is comprised of the following columns:
    1. ready for ingest
      1. Once all desired fields are populated, write TRUE in the 'Ingest Data' column and click the 'Ingest Data' button.
    2. local id
      1. This will be populated with a QID by our script.
    3. label
      1. This will also be populated by our script.
    4. part of
      1. This is the herbal or volume from which the mention is taken. Populate this with either the name of the item or the QID.
      2. For example, please use either Theatrum Botanicum or Q12593. Both of these items link to Theatrum Botanicum.
    5. page number(s)
      1. This is page number (on the physical book copy)
    6. URL
      1. Please note that at this time we only accept Biodiversity Heritage Library URLs.
      2. This should link to the particular mention
    7. historic name
      1. Please note that the spreadsheet does support the addition of multiple historic names. The preferred method for doing so is to create a separate row for each new historic name, however, pipe delimiters ( | ) within an individual cell are also supported.
      2. A parenthetical language code for each historic name is required. For example, Acacia (la). See a list of Wikimedia language codes/lists/all. We have preprocessed a number of languages, if you include one not in our list, please feel free to reach out.
    8. main subject
      1. This field denotes the modern plant genus or species information, if known. It can be populated with either text or a QID.
      2. Please note that the text entered must exactly match the label of the entity in the knowledge graph.
    9. plant description
      1. This is a free form text field for additional notes
    10. If apt, the images associated with a particular mention are demarked through the image: page, image: creator, image creator name string, and image: inception fields.
      1. In image: page the user identifies the page range of the mention (usually one page).
      2. They also denote the engraver, or artist as identified by either QID or string.
      3. Finally, image: inception is used to identify the creation date of those images. At this time, only an exact YYYY format is supported.

Manual Manipulation

Once ingested, each item can be manually manipulated. Each item an be accessed via its local id or found by searching in the knowledge graph. To edit an item, first login and click on edit.


    1. Has Virtue requires items from a controlled vocabulary of virtues. See list here.
    2. Select one of the galenic qualities. This is controlled vocabulary representing the galenic properties and humors. See a full list here.