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Building and Linking Humanities' Digital Spatial Infrastructures

30 May - 1 June 2022 Uppsala, Sweden

This workshop covers key concepts in the field of (spatial) digital research infrastructures in the Humanities such as spatial infrastructures, Linked Open Data (LOD), metadata, ontology etc. It also outlines major challenges in the field and gives some concrete, authentic examples of how to overcome them in small and large-scale projects in both academia and the GLAM sector.

Linked Open Cultural Heritage Data: LOD and RDF in Theory and Practice

The talk addresses implementation of Linked Open Data in the Swedish cultural heritage sector with SOCH (Swedish Open Cultural Heritage) as its main example. Challenges of updating bespoke legacy solutions in order to achieve greater compatibility with overarching aggregators such as Europeana are also illuminated.

Presentation by Marcus Smith

Speakerfor this session

  • Marcus Smith

    Marcus Smith, Swedish National Heritage Board, read Archaeology (BA) and Archaeological Information Systems (MSc) at the University of York, and Viking and early Medieval Studies (Magister) at Uppsala University. He is chair of the Swedish chapter of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) and has previously worked at the Archaeology Data Service and the Council for British Archaeology. Since 2012, he has been based at the Swedish National Heritage Board in Visby, where he works with the SOCH linked open data aggregation platform, digital archaeological fieldwork documentation, and the digitisation of runic inscriptions.

Keeping a Sense of Perspective: Spatial Data Infrastructures and the Humanities

Leif Isaksen talks the listener through the issues of making SDIs out of often messy humanities data. Special attention is paid to data management, i.e. reliability, bias vs. flexibility, scope, and perspective. Examples are fetched from i.a. Greek and Egyptian materials.

Presentation by Leif Isaksen

Speakerfor this session

  • Leif Isaksen

    Prof. Dr. Isaksen is Director of Digital Humanities at the University of Exeter, based in the Digital Humanities Lab, and affiliated with the Department of Classics and Ancient History. He is also Digital Humanities Theme Lead for the Institute of Data Science and AI (IDSAI). Isaksen's interests are in spatial and temporal representation in the humanities - both in the ancient world and the modern one - and the paradigm of Linked Open Data to relate online resources about the past. This is most notably as director of several projects associated with the Pelagios Network, including the development of the Recogito annotation platform. In recent years Isaksen directed the Cluny Hill Dig. Isaksen has been involved with a number of Humanities and Digital Humanities activities and organisations worldwide, including CAA, EADH and ISHMap, and was Executive Board Chair of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations (ADHO) in 2019-2021. He is a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

The World Historical Gazetteer: Common Metadata Principles and Common Vocabularies and Ontologies

Ruth Mostern outlines humanities perspectives on place and place-making and how these can be operationalised in SRIs. The collaborative World Historical Gazetteer (WHG) project and its outputs serve as the main example. The talk focuses primarily on developing ontologies and vocabulary in a project setting e.g. Linked Places Format developed for the WHG.

Presentation by Ruth Mostern

Speakerfor this session

  • Ruth Mostern

    Ruth Mostern is Director of the World History Center and Professor, Department of History, University of Pittsburgh. Prof. Dr. Ruth Mostern is a specialist in spatial and environmental history focusing on imperial China and the world. An interdisciplinary scholar with research interests bridging the humanities, social sciences, information science and environmental science, she has authored one book and edited another and has completed two major digital publications and eighteen articles. She has raised approximately $1.8 million in extramural funding and currently holds grants from both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation. Mostern's current research reconstructs the environmental history of the Yellow River as a human and natural system. She is studying the entire river basin (which stretches from the Tibetan plateau to the Pacific Ocean) during a timeframe of approximately 5,000 years in order to assess when, and to what degree, human activity in the upper and middle reaches of the river increased the risk of flooding on the densely populated lower course of the river. She is creating a digital atlas that includes a GIS (a digital mapping system) and database of the dates and locations of disasters and civil engineering works in the river basin. This data-rich atlas will support interdisciplinary advances in the understanding of large-scale human-environmental impact. Mostern is also Principal Investigator of a collaborative initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, to create a World-Historical Gazetteer that includes content and infrastructure for spatial linked open data to permit large-scale and long-term historical analysis and visualization.