|In/Tangible European Heritage - Visual Analysis, Curation and Communication (InTaVia)
InTaVia is a three year project starting in autumn 2020, funded by the EU under the call DT-TRANSFORMATIONS-12-2018-2020.
Overview (based on the project plan)
Over the last 20 years, digitization endeavors have greatly enhanced the availability of cultural heritage (CH) information across Europe.
On the one hand, tangible objects from museums, archives, and libraries have become accessible via numerous object databases (ODBs) and aggregated transnationally by platforms such as Europeana.
On the other hand, intangible CH information has been documented in natural language form, such as by newspaper articles or by narrative accounts on the lives of historical individuals which the InTaVia project focuses on. These biographical records have been digitized and shared as partially structured prosopographical databases (PDBs) on a national level. While these developments provide an excellent basis for the enhanced scholarly and public reception, utilization, and promotion of European CH, various technological and organizational restrictions prevent the exploitation of the existing data.
As one key challenge, connections between tangible and intangible asset collections have to be strengthened, which requires concerted (infra)structural development efforts.
Another challenge derives from a current lack of interconnections between national PDBs, which requires transnational harmonization.
To facilitate access to these rich repositories, new technologies are needed to enable their analysis, curation and communication for a variety of target groups without computational and technological expertise. In face of many large, heterogeneous, and unconnected CH collections we aim to develop supporting technologies to better access and manage in/tangible CH data and topics, to better study and analyze them, to curate, enrich and interlink existing collections, and to better communicate and promote their inventories.
- More specifically, in the light of historically separated object and data collections, we need options to draw 'tangible' and 'intangible' CH information together,
to create a more comprehensive picture of European culture. To do so, the InTaVia project will tap into the wealth of information stored in PDBs and utilize this rich type of narrative data for the socio-cultural and historical contextualization of data from European ODBs.
- Narrative accounts on the lives of historical actors can be utilized to contextualize cultural objects on the level of individual biographies, or they can be aggregated to form contextual 'composites',
such as histories of related groups, organizations, or regions.
Thus, InTaVia aims to make a wide variety of European cultural (hi)stories available and to integrate data from different national PDBs for that matter.
- National PDBs commonly emerge from the semantic processing of local biography collections, and they currently operate on different levels of data maturity and completeness. For their integration, it is not only crucial to enable and strengthen transnational data compatibility, but also to develop options for manual and assisted data curation, and for the dynamic creation of new structured data from unstructured (historical or contemporary) natural language sources.
- Structured data from both ODBs and PDBs is often complex, time-oriented, of heterogeneous quality and not optimized for human analysis and reasoning.
Against this background, technologies are needed to facilitate the analysis, curation and communication of in/tangible CH data for various user groups.
The InTaVia project will develop visual analytics (VA) technologies to support the work on individual CH objects (close reading) and aggregated collections (distant reading).
It will offer multiple visualization perspectives to support CH experts' activities of data analysis, curation, and creation. Building on these visualizations, the project will integrate the most accessible ones in a visual storytelling suite for the communication and promotion of European CH to the interested public.
- Due to its transdisciplinary nature, the project will engage in an iterative user-centered design process, assemble and document relevant user requirements from diverse target groups,
including CH scholars, historians, curators, practitioners, teachers (i.e. CH experts), and the interested public.
The outlined technology developments will build on these requirements and follow a modular but closely coordinated design approach.
As such, the consortium will address a variety of basic and applied research challenges, while creating a prototypical European in/tangible CH platform with a strong potential impact on research,
pedagogy, journalism, cultural industries, and Europe's cultural self-description in a global context.
InTaVia has as its mission to:
- transcend siloed data and knowledge collections, to contextualize tangible CH assets, to create a more comprehensive picture of European heritage, and to enable synergies for curation and analysis.
- encourage open sharing and connecting of data and technologies from isolated databases, and enable collaboration by basing our integrated PDB data model on the input from 14 PDB projects across the world
and making integration for data from these projects straight-forward.
- strengthen European cultural data curation and creation, develop more dynamic, intuitive, distributed, and synergetic technologies, and enable ongoing activities of enrichment and extension.
- provide state-of-the-art NLP methods in a way that scholars can apply, evaluate and help improve them.
- provide advanced visualization support for related activities (i.e., data curation and creation) and significantly advance options of visual data analysis and communication for various user groups.
- encourage CH practitioners and humanities scholars to explore new possibilities of the latest developments in data science, text mining and visual analytics.
- facilitate DH research by using a strong methodological setup to provide clear insight into provenance and data quality and to evaluate the impact of technologies on research processes and quality.
- encourage the utilization and exploitation of European cultural data, strengthen communication and promotion, and create new market opportunities.
Participants of the project
Danube University Krems (Coordinator)
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences & Arts
University of Southern Denmark
Austrian Academy of Sciences
University of Stuttgart
Fluxguide Ausstellungssysteme GmbH
University of Helsinki (HELDIG)
For more details about the project, see the InTaVia homepage.
Thanks for collaborations to our colleagues at the Finnish Literature Society (SKS) whose biographical data will be used in the project.
Contacts in Finland
Publications of SeCo related to semantic biographies
Minna Tamper, Eero Hyvönen and Petri Leskinen: Visualizing and Analyzing Networks of Named Entities in Biographical Dictionaries for Digital Humanities Research
. Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing (CICling 2019)
, Springer-Verlag, October, 2021. Forth-coming. bib pdf
This paper shows how named entity extraction and networkanalysis can be used to examine biographies individually and in groupsto aid historians in biographical and prosopographical research. For this purpose a reference network of 13 100 biographies in the collections ofthe Biographical Centre of the Finnish Literature Society was created, based on links between the biographies as well as automatically extracted named entities found in the texts. The data was published in a SPARQL endpoint as a Linked Data knowledge graph on top of which network analytic tools were created and analysis were done showing the usefulness of the approach in Digital Humanities. The reference graph has been utilized for network analysis to examine egocentric networks of individual persons as well as networks among groups of people in prosopography. The data and tools presented are in use since autumn 2018 in the semantic portal BiographySampo that has had tens of thousands of users.
Mikko Koho, Petri Leskinen and Eero Hyvönen: Integrating Historical Person Registers as Linked Open Data in the WarSampo Knowledge Graph
. Semantic Systems. In the Era of Knowledge Graphs. SEMANTiCS 2020
(Eva Blomqvist, Paul Groth, Victor de Boer, Tassilo Pellegrini, Mehwish Alam, Tobias Käfer, Peter Kieseberg, Sabrina Kirrane, Albert Meroño-Peñuela and Harshvardhan J. Pandit (eds.)), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 12378, pp. 118-126, Springer, Cham, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, October, 2020. bib pdf link
Semantic data integration from heterogeneous, distributed data silos enables Digital Humanities research and application development employing a larger, mutually enriched and interlinked knowledge graph. However, data integration is challenging, involving aligning the data models and reconciling the concepts and named entities, such as persons and places. This paper presents a record linkage process to reconcile person references in different military historical person registers with structured metadata. The information about persons is aggregated into a single knowledge graph. The process was applied to reconcile three person registers of the popular semantic portal WarSampo -- Finnish World War 2 on the Semantic Web . The registers contain detailed information about some 100,000 people and are individually maintained by domain experts. Thus, the integration process needs to be automatic and adaptable to changes in the registers. An evaluation of the record linkage results is promising and provides some insight into military person register reconciliation in general.
Howard Hotson, Thomas Wallnig, Jouni Tuominen, Eetu Mäkelä, and Eero Hyvönen: People
. Reassembling the Republic of Letters in the Digital Age
(H. Hotson and T. Wallnig (eds.)), pp. 119-136, Göttingen University Press, 2019. bib link
Mikko Koho, Esko Ikkala and Eero Hyvönen: Reassembling the Lives of Finnish Prisoners of the Second World War on the Semantic Web
. Proceedings of the Third Conference on Biographical Data in a Digital World (BD 2019)
, Varna, Bulgaria, September, 2019. bib pdf
This paper presents first results of a new, ninth application perspective for the semantic portal WarSampo - Finnish WW2 on the Semantic Web, based on a database of ca. 4450 Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. Our key idea is to reassemble the life of each prisoner of war by using Linked Data, based on information about the person in different data sources. Using the enriched aggregated data, a biographical global home page for each prisoner of war can be created, that is more complete than information in individual data sources. The application perspective is targeted to researchers of military history, to study and analyze the data in order to form new research questions or hypotheses, as well as to public in the large looking for information e.g., about their relatives that were captured as prisoners of war. Employing the faceted search of the application perspective, prosopographical research on subgroups of prisoners is possible.
Eero Hyvönen, Petri Leskinen, Minna Tamper, Heikki Rantala, Esko Ikkala, Jouni Tuominen and Kirsi Keravuori: BiographySampo - Publishing and Enriching Biographies on the Semantic Web for Digital Humanities Research
. The Semantic Web. ESWC 2019
(Pascal Hitzler, Miriam Fernández, Krzysztof Janowicz, Amrapali Zaveri, Alasdair J.G. Gray, Vanessa Lopez, Armin Haller and Karl Hammar (eds.)), pp. 574-589, Springer-Verlag, June, 2019. bib pdf link
Lia Gasbarra, Mikko Koho, Ilkka Jokipii, Heikki Rantala and Eero Hyvönen: An Ontology of Finnish Historical Occupations
. The Semantic Web: ESWC 2019 Satellite Events
(Hitzler, Pascal, Kirrane, Sabrina, Hartig, Olaf, de Boer, Victor, Vidal, Maria-Esther, Maleshkova, Maria, Schlobach, Stefan, Hammar, Karl, Lasierra, Nelia, Stadtmüller, Steffen, Hose, Katja and Verborgh, Ruben (eds.)), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 64-68, Springer, Cham, Portoroz, Slovenia, June, 2019. bib pdf link
Historical datasets often impose the need to study groups of people based on occupation or social status. This paper presents first results in creating an ontology of historical Finnish occupations, AMMO, that enables selection of groups of people based on their occupation, occupational groups, or socioeconomic class. AMMO is linked to the international historical occupation classification HISCO and to a modern Finnish occupational classification for interoperability. AMMO will be used as a component in two semantic portals for Finnish war history.
Petri Leskinen and Eero Hyvönen: Extracting Genealogical Networks of Linked Data from Biographical Texts
. The Semantic Web: ESWC 2019 Satellite Events
(Hitzler, P., Kirrane, S., Hartig, O., de Boer, V., Vidal, M.-E., Maleshkova, M., Schlobach, S., Hammar, K., Lasierra, N., Stadtmüller, S., Hose, K., Verborgh, R. (ed.)), pp. 121-125, Springer, June, 2019. bib pdf
Mikko Koho, Lia Gasbarra, Jouni Tuominen, Heikki Rantala, Ilkka Jokipii and Eero Hyvönen: AMMO Ontology of Finnish Historical Occupations
. Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Open Data and Ontologies for Cultural Heritage (ODOCH 19)
, vol. 2375, pp. 91-96, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Rome, Italy, June, 2019. Vol 2375. bib pdf link
This paper introduces AMMO Ontology of Finnish Historical Occupations. AMMO is based on thousands of occupation labels extracted from three Finnish military historical datasets of the early 20th century: the first consists of the ca. 40 000 war-related death records around the time of the Finnish Civil War (1914–1922); the second consists of the ca. 95 000 death records of Finnish soldiers in the Winter War and Continuation War (1939–1944); the third contains the ca. 4500 records of Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union during the WW2. Our goal from a Digital Humanities perspective is to use AMMO to study military history and these datasets based on the occupation and social status of the soldiers. AMMO will also be used as a component for faceted search and semantic recommendation in two semantic portals for Finnish military history. AMMO is aligned with the international historical occupation classification HISCO and with a modern Finnish occupational classification for international and national interoperability. The ontology is published as Linked Open Data in an ontology service.
Eero Hyvönen, Petri Leskinen, Minna Tamper, Heikki Rantala, Esko Ikkala, Jouni Tuominen and Kirsi Keravuori: Demonstrating BiographySampo in Solving Digital Humanities Research Problems in Biography and Prosopography
. The Fourth Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries 2019 (DHN2019), Book of Abstracts
, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, March, 2019. bib pdf link
Heikki Rantala: Yhteyshaku semanttisessa webissä
. MSc Thesis (in Finnish), University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science, January, 2019. bib pdf
Tavallisessa haussa etsitään yksilöitä, kuten henkilöitä tai paikkoja. Joissain tilanteissa esimerkiksi historian tutkija voi olla kiinnostunut myös etsimään yhteyksiä henkilöiden ja paikkojen välillä. Tässä työssä esitetään metodi tällaisen yhteyshaun toteuttamiseksi käyttäen semanttisen webin sisältämää avointa dataa. Työssä muodostettiin graafi, joka sisältää kuvauksia Suomen kulttuu- rihistorian henkilöiden ja paikkojen välisistä kiinnostaviksi arvioiduista yhteyksistä. Graafi luotiin SPARQL CONSTRUCT -kyselyillä. Yhteyksien hakemista varten luotiin web-sovellus, joka hyödyntää fasettihakua. Tarvittavien SPARQL CONSTRUCT -kyselyjen luominen ei osoittautunut erityisen hankalaksi, mutta niiden soveltaminen yleisemmin eri aineistoihin vaatii jonkin verran työtä. Yhteyksien fasettihaku osoittautui mielenkiintoiseksi. Fasettihaku mahdollistaa haun tarkentamisen askel kerrallaan. Lisäksi yhteyksien suhteellisia määriä on mahdollista vertailla erilaisten rajausten mukaan. Tämä tarjoaa aineistoon uusia näkökulmia.
Petri Leskinen, Eero Hyvönen and Jouni Tuominen: Analyzing and Visualizing Prosopographical Linked Data Based on Biographies
. Proceedings of the Second Conference on Biographical Data in a Digital World 2017 (BD2017)
, vol. 2119, pp. 39-44, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Linz, Austria, 2018. bib pdf link
This paper shows how faceted search on biographical data can be utilized as a flexible basis for filtering target groups of people and, in particular, how generic data analysis and visualization tools can then be applied for solving prosopographical research questions based on the filtered data. This idea is demonstrated and evaluated in practice by presenting two application case studies: 1) linked data extracted from a printed registry of over 10 000 alumni (1867–1992) of the prominent Finnish high school Norssi, and 2) a knowledge graph extracted from 13 000 short biographies of significant Finnish people (from 3rd century to present times) in the National Biography of Finland. In both cases, the data is enriched by linking their entities with several other external datasets.
Jouni Tuominen, Eero Hyvönen and Petri Leskinen: Bio CRM: A Data Model for Representing Biographical Data for Prosopographical Research
. Proceedings of the Second Conference on Biographical Data in a Digital World 2017 (BD2017)
, vol. 2119, pp. 59-66, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Linz, Austria, 2018. bib pdf link
Biographies make a promising application case of Linked Data: they can be used, e.g., as a basis for Digital Humanities research in prosopography and as a key data and linking resource in semantic Cultural Heritage (CH) portals. In both use cases, a semantic data model for harmonizing and interlinking heterogeneous data from different sources is needed. This paper presents such a data model, Bio CRM, with the following key ideas: 1) The model is a domain specific extension of CIDOC CRM, making it applicable to not only biographical data but to other CH data, too. 2) The model makes a distinction between enduring unary roles of actors, their enduring binary relationships, and perduing events, where the participants can take different roles modeled as a role concept hierarchy. 3) The model can be used as a basis for semantic data validation and enrichment by reasoning. 4) The enriched data conforming to Bio CRM is targeted to be used by SPARQL queries in a flexible ways using a hierarchy of roles in which participants can be involved in events.
Minna Tamper, Petri Leskinen, Kasper Apajalahti and Eero Hyvönen: Using Biographical Texts as Linked Data for Prosopographical Research and Applications
. Digital Heritage. Progress in Cultural Heritage: Documentation, Preservation, and Protection. 7th International Conference, EuroMed 2018, Nicosia, Cyprus
, Springer-Verlag, November, 2018. bib pdf
Eero Hyvönen, Petri Leskinen, Minna Tamper, Heikki Rantala, Esko Ikkala, Jouni Tuominen and Kirsi Keravuori: Biografiasammon tekoäly yhdistää ja rikastaa suomalaiset elämäkerrat semanttisessa webissä
. Aalto-yliopisto, Semanttisen laskennan tutkimusryhmä (SeCo), Nov, 2018. bib pdf
Biografiasampo-järjestelmä käynnistää uuden aikakauden elämäkertakokoelmien julkaisemisessa ja käyttämisessä verkossa. Järjestelmän ydinaineistona on Kansallisbiografia ja muut Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran (SKS) ja tieteellisten seurojen toimittamat pienoiselämäkerrat, yhteensä 13 100 elämäntarinaa, joita on kirjoittanut 900 suomalaista tutkijaa. Biografiasammon innovaationa on luoda kieliteknologian, tekoälyn ja semanttisen webin teknologioiden avulla elämäkertojen teksteistä ja niihin eri lähteissä liittyvistä tiedoista tietämysverkko (knowledge graph) ja kansallinen tietoinfrastruktuuri, joka koostuu miljoonista tietojen välisistä yhteyksistä. Tietämysverkko on julkaistu linkitetyn datan palvelussa, jonka varaan on toteutettu seitsemästä sovellusnäkymästä koostuva älykäs, kaikille avoin ja maksuton verkkopalvelu biografiasampo.fi kansalaisten ja digitaalisten ihmistieteiden tutkijoiden käytettäväksi.
Eero Hyvönen, Petri Leskinen, Minna Tamper, Jouni Tuominen and Kirsi Keravuori: Semantic National Biography of Finland
. Proceedings of the Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries 3rd Conference (DHN 2018)
, pp. 372-385, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Vol-2084, Helsinki, Finland, March, 2018. bib pdf link
This paper presents the vision of publishing and utilizing textual biographies as Linked (Open) Data on the Semantic Web. As a case study, we publish the live stories of the National Biography of Finland, created by the Finnish Literature Society, as semantic, i.e., machine “understandable” metadata in a SPARQL endpoint using the Linked Data Finland (LDF.fi) service. On top of the data service various Digital Humanities applications are built. The applications include searching and studying individual personal histories as well as historical research of groups of persons using methods of prosopography. The biographical data is enriched by extracting events from unstructured and semi-structured texts, and by linking entities internally and to external data sources. A faceted semantic search engine is provided for filtering groups of people from the data for prosopographical research. An extension of the event-based CIDOC CRM ontology is used as the underlying data model, where lives are seen as chains of interlinked events populated from the data of the biographies and additional data sources, such as museum collections, library databases, and archives.
Petri Leskinen, Jouni Tuominen, Erkki Heino and Eero Hyvönen: An Ontology and Data Infrastructure for Publishing and Using Biographical Linked Data
. Proceedings of the Workshop on Humanities in the Semantic Web (WHiSe II)
, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Vienna, Austria, October, 2017. bib pdf
This paper describes the ontology model and published datasets of a digitized biographical person register. The applied ontology model is designed to represent people via their enduring roles and perduring lifetime events. The model is designed to support 1) prosopographical Digital Humanities research, 2) linking to resources in semantic Cultural Heritage portals, and 3) semantic data validation and enrichment by using SPARQL queries. The linked data approach enables to enrich a person s biography by interlinking it with space and time related biographical events, persons relating by social contacts or family relations, historical events, and personal achievements.
Eero Hyvönen, Petri Leskinen, Erkki Heino, Jouni Tuominen and Laura Sirola: Reassembling and Enriching the Life Stories in Printed Biographical Registers: Norssi High School Alumni on the Semantic Web
. Proceedings, Language, Data and Knowledge (LDK 2017)
, pp. 113-119, Springer-Verlag, Galway, Ireland, June, 2017. bib pdf link
This paper presents the idea to enrich printed biographical person registers with linked data related to events that took place after the register was published. By transforming printed historical documents into structured data, semantic search to written texts can be provided for the reader. Even more importantly, life stories of historical persons can be extended based on data linking by extracting semantic structures from printed texts, and by combining this data with external datasets and data services. Such linking provides an enriched context for prosopographical research on people in the register, as well as an enhanced reading experience for anyone interested in reading the biographies. As a concrete case study, a register 1867–1992 of over 10 000 alumni of the prominent Finnish high school “Norssi” was transformed into RDF, was enriched by data linking, was published as a linked data service, and is provided to end users via a faceted search engine and browser for studying lives of historical persons and for prosopographical research.
Eero Hyvönen, Miika Alonen, Esko Ikkala and Eetu Mäkelä: Life Stories as Event-based Linked Data: Case Semantic National Biography
. Proceedings of ISWC 2014 Posters & Demonstrations Track
, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, October, 2014. bib pdf link
This paper argues, by presenting a case study and a demonstration on the web, that biographies make a promising application case of Linked Data: the reading experience can be enhanced by enriching the biographies with additional life time events, by proving the user with a spatio-temporal context for reading, and by linking the text to additional contents in related datasets.