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WG2 People and Networks

Workshop on Biographical Linked Data and Prosopography

22 Jan, 2016, University of Oxford

Goals of the Workshop

The general goal of the workshop is to sort out and discuss Digital Humanities research problems underlying the Reassembling the Republic of Letters EU COST action (RRL), related to Work Group 2: People and Networks. The focus in this meeting is especially on modeling biographical data and using it for proposographical research. Concrete research problems and use cases are solicited for discussion within the RRL community.

Important topics for discussion in the workshop include e.g. the following:
  • What prosopographical data models to use in RRL; are the foundations secure?
  • How we are going to fill that data model with data? When to do it manually, semi-automatically, and automatically?
  • What content will be used for populating the data model?
  • What are the biographical and prosopographical reference sources most relevant for researching the republic of letters?
  • Which of these reference sources are available for open access on the Web? Can all of these be provided to the users of the cataloging systems?
  • How to select and prioritize the most valuable sources?
  • To which of these resources might our infrastructure wish to add new entries., e.g. new people records for VIAF or Getty ULAN, or new names forms for CERL?
  • From which of these resources might we wish to extract data automatically and how?
  • How would we go about negotiating collaborations of this kind with external dataset publishers, regarding using and enriching the data?

We solicit proposals for pilot applications where proposographical research problems could be addressed in novel ways using the linked data approach, semantic computing, knowledge discovery, and visualizations.

To create a basis for such research and discussions, the programme presents different approaches to modeling historical people, networks, and events using ontologies. Also modeling and representing biographial data is in focus. These presentations are given by invited scholars that have been involved in related works.

The talks also present initial results in designing and building a collaborative Linked Data infrastructure for RRL. The idea is that this infrastructure could be piloted within the project by interested participants, and it could make a basis for an anticipated Horizon 2020 project proposal, discussed in more detail in the final session.

The participants are also invited to send a proposal for a short talk to the Programme Committee. The proposal should explain clearly, why this presentation and topic for discussions is valuable to the goals of the workshop. Indicate the desired length of the presentation in your submission.

Presentation proposals should be sent in PDF format to the workshop chair Eero Hyvönen eero.hyvonen(ät)aalto.fi by email.


Time Presentation
09:00-09:10 Opening of the Workshop
Eero Hyvönen: Goals and Contents of the Workshop PDF
09:10-10:40 Aims and Research Questions (chair Eero Hyvönen)
Howard Hotson: Conceptual fundamentals of the EMLO prosopographical data model PDF
Robin Buning: Prosopographical Research Questions PDF
Thomas Wallnig: Historiographical Research Questions and Preparations for the Warsaw conference
10:40-11:10 Coffee Break
11:10-12:30 The EMLO Data Model: Is it fit for use? (chair Thomas Wallnig)
Jetze Touber and Mikkel Jensen: Using the EMLO prosopographical data model, means for data input PDF
Martin Hadley: Visualizing Prosopographical Data based on Correspondences PDF
Discussion, next steps towards releasing the data model
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-15:00 Towards Linked Data (chair Arno Bosse)
Eetu Mäkelä: EMLO as a Linked Data Service PDF
Jouni Tuominen: Dynamic Ontology Service for Historical Persons and Places Based on Crowdsourcing PDF
Antske Fokkens: Lessons Learned from BiographyNet PDF
Discussion, defining an infrastructure for propsopographical resarch
15:00-15:30 Coffee Break
15:30-16:00 Future Prospects, Topics, and Partners (chair Howard Hotson)
Sandra Toffolo: Prosopography in Network
Presentations of WG2 members and their collaborators:
Thea Lindquist: Early Stuart Diplomatic Service: Prosopography and Networks PDF
16:00-17:00 Discussion: Future Steps for WG2 and Horizon 2020 (chair Howard Hotson)
Next steps regarding research questions, data model, tools, and partners. Assignment of tasks and deadlines for WG2 and Horizon 2020.


The workshop is open to all members of the RRL EU Cost project and their collaborators.


University of Oxford, St. Anne's College:

St Anne's College
Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HS, UK

More information about getting there.

The meeting will take place in the Seminar Room 9; you can find it using St Anne's site map.

Travel Expenses

RRL EU Cost project will support, using the EU COST guidelines, the travel expenses of presenters and WG2 members. Since there is only limited travel budget available, the programme committee will decide on funding allocation, if there are more participants than can be fully funded.


The participants are expected to find and book accommodation by themselves. In addition to hotels, some colleges offer accommodation. This website provides a central point for finding rooms.

More Information

For more information, please contact workshop chair Eero Hyvönen, eero.hyvonen(ät)aalto.fi, tel. +358 50 384 1618.

Programme Committee

  • Eero Hyvönen (chair)
  • Ruth Ahnert
  • Sebastian Ahnert
  • Arno Bosse
  • Howard Hotson
  • Tanya Gray Jones
  • Eetu Mäkelä
  • Thomas Wallnig

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