• Serpentarium Mundi (www.serpentarium.org) is a specialized digital iconography compendium dedicated to snakes/serpents and their manifold derivatives (e.g. dragons). It catalogues representations of real and imaginary ophiomorphs in the visual arts of Old World civilizations from 3000 BC to 650 AD. The website also serves as a limited-functionality test prototype of the SOLID (Specialized On-Line Iconography Database) digital framework.

    The project is a collaborative, multidisciplinary enterprise. It employs expertise in the fields of classics, religious studies, comparative mythology, ethnozoology, art history, visual semiotics, knowledge organization, and computer science. The presentation will inform regarding the current state of the relevant scholarship and will address project technical and organizational aspects and practical outcomes.

    A novel analytical device, the three-faceted formal semantic indicator (identifier-descriptor-operator) will be introduced. The device is intended to contribute to future ontology-based iconography research as an instrument facilitating the classification, contextualization, and interpretation of images. It could also be potentially incorporated as a functional component into computational procedures involving the machine-readable ontologies. Its experimental application in the context of the taxonomic classification of numismatic iconographic types will be illustrated.

    The modified methodological scheme iconography (analytic, proto-iconic stage) → iconology (synthetic, proper-iconic stage) → iconosophy (hermeneutic, meta-iconic stage) will be discussed.

    The presentation intends to (1) initiate discussion, (2) solicit feedback, (3) obtain expert advice from specialists in the fields of database development, cross-domain metadata, semantic web, content/network analysis, data visualization, geographic information systems, and digital museology, and (4) find and engage potential collaborators and/or institutional sponsors.