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Metadata is ordinarily used to describe documents, but it can also constitute a form of infrastructure for access to networked resources and for traversal of those resources. One problematic area for access to digital library resources has been the search for time periods and events, whether of historic import or of significance in individual lives. If there is a capability to search for time, it is usually a date search - a standardized and precise form but unfortunately rarely used in common chronological expressions. For example, a user interested in the Vietnam war, the Clinton Administration, or the Elizabethan Period must either know the corresponding dates, or rely on simple keyword matching for those period names. In addition to this limitation, facilities for effectively browsing time periods are extremely limited. In this demo we will show how chronological and geographic context can be displayed in order to facilitate browsing and interaction with conceptually related materials. This demo uses our prototype Time Period Directory, a metadata infrastructure for named time periods linking them with their geographic location as well as a canonical time period range, in conjunction with other local databases and web-accessible data. Both a conventional web interface and a Google Earth-based geo-temporal browser will be shown.
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