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NameSampo: A Linked Open Data Infrastructure and Workbench for Toponomastic Research

One of the Institute for the Languages of Finland's archives, the Names Archive contains valuable information for onomasticians and linguists, as well as for archaeologists, historians, folklorists, and natural scientists. The corpora of place names in the Names Archive was converted into a digital archive in 2014–2017. The objective of the project was to convert the place name entry slips, collection maps, and the attribute and metadata related to them into digital format.

The goal of the NameSampo project is to first convert, enrich and publish the ditized Names Archive as Linked Open Data. After that, the focus is on creating a flexible, easy to use workbench of search, data analytic, and visualization tools by utilizing the Linked Data infrastructure, various external map and data sources, and a collaborative workflow between onomasticians and computer scientists. The intent is that a wide variety of toponomastic research questions can be addressed interactively using a web browser.

Service Demonstrator Online

The development version of the NameSampo user interface is online at dev.nimisampo.fi

Source code on GitHub


The work is supported by the University of Helsinki Future Fund.

Contact Persons

Eero Hyvönen, University of Helsinki (HELDIG) and Aalto University

Esko Ikkala, Aalto University and University of Helsinki (HELDIG)

Jouni Tuominen, University of Helsinki (HELDIG)

Team at the University of Helsinki: Terhi Ainiala, Jaakko Raunamaa, and Tiina Aalto

Representative of Kotus, Institute for the Languages of Finland: Helinä Uusitalo



Esko Ikkala, Jouni Tuominen, Jaakko Raunamaa, Tiina Aalto, Terhi Ainiala, Helinä Uusitalo and Eero Hyvönen: NameSampo: A Linked Open Data Infrastructure and Workbench for Toponomastic Research. Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SIGSPATIAL Workshop on Geospatial Humanities, GeoHumanities 18, pp. 2:1-2:9, ACM, Seattle, WA, USA, November, 2018. bib link
This paper presents a series of projects where one of the main sources for toponomastic research in Finland, the corpora of place names in the Names Archive database of the Institute for the Languages of Finland, was digitized and how the resulting database was converted, enriched and published as Linked Open Data using a data processing pipeline. Utilizing the Linked Data infrastructure and various external data sources, a modern full-stack web application, NameSampo, was created in collaboration between toponomastic researchers and computer scientists for searching, analyzing, and visualizing digital toponomastic data sources.
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