Towards Semantic Interoperability in Historical Research

Fafalios, Pavlos
Konsolaki, Konstantina
Charami, Lida
Petrakis, Kostas
Paterakis, Manos
Angelakis, Dimitris
Tzitzikas, Yannis
Bekiari, Chrysoula
Doerr, Martin
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Springer, Cham
A vast area of research in historical science concerns the documentation and study of artefacts and related evidence. Current practice mostly uses spreadsheets or simple relational databases to organise the information as rows with multiple columns of related attributes. This form offers itself for data analysis and scholarly interpretation, however it also poses problems including i) the difficulty for collaborative but controlled documentation by a large number of users, ii) the lack of representation of the details from which the documented relations are inferred, iii) the difficulty to extend the underlying data structures as well as to combine and integrate data from multiple and diverse information sources, and iv) the limitation to reuse the data beyond the context of a particular research activity. To support historians to cope with these problems, in this paper we describe the Synthesis documentation system and its use by a large number of historians in the context of an ongoing research project in the field of History of Art. The system is Web-based and collaborative, and makes use of existing standards for information documentation and publication (CIDOC-CRM, RDF), focusing on semantic interoperability and the production of data of high value and long-term validity.
Fafalios, Pavlos, K. Konsolaki, L. Charami, K. Petrakis, M. Paterakis, D. Angelakis, Y. Tzitzikas, C. Bekiari, and M. Doerr, “Towards Semantic Interoperability in Historical Research: Documenting Research Data and Knowledge with Synthesis“, In: Hotho A. et al. (eds) The Semantic Web – ISWC 2021. ISWC 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12922. Springer, Cham.