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Products for Grant HD-51636-13

Digital Prosopography for Renaissance Musicians: Discovery of Social and Professional Networks
Susan Weiss, Johns Hopkins University

Grant details:

Human History Project: Digital Prosopography of Renaissance Musicians (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Human History Project: Digital Prosopography of Renaissance Musicians
Abstract: The Human History Project is a large, long-term enterprise, which aims to build a distributed international database of documented human history using Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools and Linked Open Data (LOD) to model historical data. Exploiting the ever-increasing availability of historical documents and recent improvements in optical character recognition (OCR), this project aims to create, automatically, an economically feasible digital prosopographical database, which will include series of events (relationships between named entities). Even with the current state-of-the-art OCR and NLP technologies, however, there are still some errors for which we plan to deploy crowd- or expert-sourcing techniques for corrections. For this we are developing a web application to correct errors. The results are stored in the RDF (Resource Description Framework) quad format (i.e., with named graph), which then can be searched via SPARQL query language. In a pilot NEH-funded project entitled “Digital Prosopography of Renaissance Musicians,” we are creating a framework that can answer questions not easily answered by Google-like searches or traditional means. Some have referred to it as a “Facebook of the Past.” We conducted some initial experiments with promising results. It is hoped that as more historical documents are digitized and as the NLP technologies improve, a wealth of historical information, which was available but difficult to extract, can be more easily searched and retrieved. Our work will have implications for the growing sub-discipline of prosopography.
Author: Susan Forscher Weiss and Ichiro Fujinaga
Date: 08/12/2106
Location: Digital Libraries for Musicology Workshop New York City, NY, USA 12 August 2016
Primary URL:–-human-history-project-dh-work-progress-series-232511
Primary URL Description: Main site for the Human History Project
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Specific cite for prosopography.