Breaking scientific networks

April 16, 2014

scientificnetsAn interesting conference next week (with a catchy title!): Breaking scientific networks. Every academic should probably be interested in this :)

All are invited to an upcoming conference – “Breaking Scientific Networks” – to be held next week at UC Davis.

What happens when scientific collaborations fall apart? What causes networks to falter? How resilient are they in the face of outside interference, internal strife, or major geopolitical disruption? In this one-day conference, we will look at the long history of networks, from the early modern period to the present day. Join us for the discussion – all are welcome!

Here are the details:
When: April 25th, 2014. Breakfast at 9:30am; talks and discussion from 10:00am to 6:45pm.

Where: The Center for Science and Innovation Studies at the University of California, Davis. All events will be in the Social Sciences & Humanities Building, room 1246.

Who: The conference is organized by Dániel Margócsy (Hunter College, CUNY) and William Rankin (Yale University).

Presenters include:
Paula Findlen (Stanford)
Andrew Lakoff (USC)
Dániel Margócsy (Hunter College, CUNY)
Elidor Mëhilli (Hunter College, CUNY)
Joanna Radin (Yale)
William Rankin (Yale)
Matthew Sargent (Caltech)
Lindsay Smith (University of New Mexico)
Sharon Traweek (UCLA)

Comments from Mario Biagioli, Allison Fish, and Hélène Mialet (all UC Davis).

For more information, please see http://www.breakingscientificnetworks.info
For access to the pre-circulated papers, please contact margocsy@gmail.com or william.rankin@yale.edu

Please spread the word!

Bill Rankin and Dániel Margócsy


Registration: Telling stories with maps

April 10, 2014

Hestia_logo_whtTime for the third in the series of Hestia2 conferences! After great meetings in Southampton and Stanford we now move to Birmingham for ‘Telling stories with maps: the geoweb, qualitative GIS and narrative mapping’. The prgramme is included below. You can register for this meeting via eventbrite.

Telling stories with maps: the geoweb, qualitative GIS and narrative mapping
Digital Humanities Hub, University of Birmingham, 30 April 2014

Free registration is now open <http://tinyurl.com/ptdogvz> for this one-day workshop, organized as part of the HESTIA 2 initiative – a public engagement project based on the spatial reading and visualizing of texts. This workshop will examine the role of GIS as a tool for mapping texts of different kinds.

As Caquard (2013, 135) has noted, there has been considerable interest in ‘the relationship between maps and narratives’, especially in the context of the spatial turn among literary and film scholars.  In many ways this field is being driven by technological innovation, particularly the rise of easy-to-use online mapping tools developed by companies like Google to exploit location-based data; everyone can now map their story.  Nonetheless, the standard critique of GIS is that it replicates a Cartesian, positivist conception of the world through allocating geospatial coordinates to objects.  This brings the temptation to ignore a technology closely associated with domination and control, to see mapping purely as metaphor rather than geospatial ‘grid’.  Geographers, particularly those working in critical and qualitative GIS (e.g. Cope and Elwood 2009) have dissected this critique and highlight the analytical potential of GIS for those interested in qualitative data.  Just what does it mean then, to use geospatial technologies to map people’s stories?

The event runs from 10.30-16.30 (with coffee and registration from 10.00) and includes a free lunch.
Register now at Eventbrite http://tinyurl.com/ptdogvz

There are a small number of UK travel bursaries available for postgraduate students – email p.i.jones@bham.ac.uk to apply.

We have an exciting international and interdisciplinary line up of speakers, including:

Vanesa Castán Broto (UCL)
‘Mapping stories, urban energy’

Nela Milic (Goldsmiths)
‘Belgrade log BG:LOG’

Agnieszka Leszczynski (University of Birmingham) and Sarah Elwood (University of Washington)
‘Telling stories with new spatial media’

Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko (NUI Galway)
‘Challenging the Narrative of International Law through GIS: limits and opportunities’

Miranda Anderson  & James Loxley (University of Edinburgh)
‘Mapping the Factual and the Counterfactual’

Pietro Liuzzo (University of Heidelberg) and Francesco Mambrini (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut)
‘Storytelling and geographical data in EAGLE’

Ian Gregory, Chris Donaldson (Lancaster University) and Patricia Murrieta-Flores (University of Chester)
‘Exploring Lake District writing using GIS’

Akiyoshi Suzuki (Nagasaki University)
‘A Good Map is Worth a Thousand Words: 3-D Topographic Narrative of Haruki Murakami’

Moacir P. de Sá Pereira (University of Chicago)
‘Robert Jordan’s nearest neighbor: A “For Whom the Bell Tolls” GIS’

Øyvind Eide (University of Passau)
‘Narratives of maps and texts. The role of media differences and stepwise formalisation’

For more information contact:
Phil Jones (p.i.jones@bham.ac.uk)
Stefan Bouzarovski (stefan.bouzarovski@manchester.ac.uk)


CFP Historical Network Research Conference 2014

April 3, 2014

hnrThe Historical Network Research team has been organising workshops for years. In September 2013 they hosted a great conference in Hamburg, and now it’s time for the sequel in September 2014 in Ghent. The team follows its usual recipe of hands-on workshops, keynotes and talks. The keynotes include Claire Lemercier (Paris Sciences-Po) and Emily Erikson (Yale University). I can only recommend sending in an abstract and/or attending. More info below or on the website.

Abstract submission deadline 10 May 2014

Historical Network Research Conference 2014

Ghent University, Belgium, 15-19 September.
This conference follows up the Future of Historical Network Research (HNR) Conference 2013 and aims to bring together scholars from all historical disciplines, sociologists, other social scientists, geographers and computer scientists to discuss the emerging field of historical Social Network Analysis. The concepts and methods of social network analysis in historical research are no longer merely used as metaphors but are increasingly applied in practice. With the increasing availability of both structured and unstructured digital data, we should be able to analyze complex phenomena. Historical SNA can help us to cope with the organization of this information and the reduction of complexity.
We invite papers from ancient to contemporary history, which integrate social network analysis methods and historical research methods and reflect on the added value of their methodologies. Since most historical data is unstructured, we seek innovative ways to derive, mine or prepare this kind of data (historical and literary texts, images, …) for SNA. Social scientists or computer scientists working with historical sources or longitudinal perspectives are also welcome. Topics could cover (but are not limited to) the following strands:
The spatial dimensions of networks; the role of transport in social interaction, on spatial distance and compensation by alternative proximities, and on the use of spatial analytical techniques in quantitative network analysis.
Relational approaches towards collective action; for instance transnational or global (social) movements, dynamics of contention, etc.
The history of science and knowledge circulation; including the dynamics of citation networks, policy networks, discipline formation and relational approaches towards scientific and intellectual movements
History of elites; for instance the meaning of kinship, political elites and policy networks, (trans)national elite formation, global elites, cultural elites and consumption, etc.
The role and organization of historical economic networks established by economic actors in the broadest sense, including networks of individual entrepreneurs, business elites, cities and states. We invite case studies of domestic networks, long-distance trade networks, networks created by migration, patronage networks etc.
Use and abuse of distant reading practices and the promises of ‘big data’ in literary and cultural history
Historical networks and theory: assessments of the theoretical and historiographical foundations of social network analysis in historical and sociological research: a relational turn, paradigm or a method?

Confirmed keynotes: Claire Lemercier (Sciences Po, Paris) and Emily Erikson (Yale University)

To propose a paper, panel, or poster, please email hnr2014@ugent.be by May 10, 2014. Proposals should take the form of a 250-words abstract accompanied by a short CV; in the case of complete panels, proposals should consist of an abstract and short CV for every panelist together with a short CV for the chair (if different). The conference is free for presenters. The admission fee for other participants is 35 Euro/day without dinner.

Pre-conference workshops:
A general introduction in SNA: the main concepts and the basic techniques of social network analysis
NodeXL (Marten Düring, UNC Chapel Hill)
How to prepare or extract data for a network analysis: a general introduction (Mark Depauw with Yanne Broux or Silke Van Beselaere, Leuven University)
Cleaning up messy data and a practical introduction to Named-Entity Recognition for historical research using Open Refine (Seth Van Hooland and Simon Hengchen)
Data modeling and network visualizations in Gephi (Clement Levallois, EMLYON Business School)
Social network analysis using UCINET (Bruce Cronin, University of Greenwich and Elisa Belotti, University of Manchester)
The Science of Science (Sci2) Tool (tbc)

The workshops will seek to provide as much practical skills and knowledge as possible. The fee for participation in the workshops is 75 EUR/day. We take registrations on a first come first serve basis, so if you are planning to (or thinking about) attending, it is best to register early. As from April 15 you can find more information regarding the workshops and registration details on our website (LINK). More info: hnr2014@ugent.be
Conference locations: Ghent University (workshops) and Ghent City Museum (http://www.stamgent.be/en, conference).

Provisional Programme:

Monday 15 Tuesday 16 -Workshops Wednesday 17 – Workshops Thursday 18 – Workshops Friday 19 – Workshops
Morning
- Data preparation- SNA – Node XL - Gephi 2- UCINET 2- Sci2 1 Conference Conference
Afternoon
- Gephi 1- UCINET 1- Open Refine / NER - Gephi 3- UCINET 3- Sci2 2 Conference Conference
Evening Registration
Public lecture reception Conference dinner

Organizing committee
Hans Blomme (Department of History, Ghent University)
Dr. Wim Broeckaert (Department of History, Ghent University)
Fien Danniau (Department of History, Ghent University)
Dr. Karen De Coene (Department of Geography, Ghent University)
Dr. Marloes Deene (Department of History, Ghent University)
Prof. dr. Mark Depauw (Department of Ancient History, University of Leuven)
Dr. Thorsten Ries (Ghent Center for Digital Humanities)
Prof. dr. Seth Van Hooland (Information and Communication Science department, Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Prof. dr. Ronan Van Rossem (Department of Sociology, Ghent University)
Prof. dr. Christophe Verbruggen (Department of History, Ghent University)

Scientific committee; organizing committee +
Prof. dr. Philippe De Maeyer (Department of Geography Ghent University)
Dr. Tom De Smedt (Clips, University of Antwerp)
Dr. Marten Düring (UNC Chapel Hill)
Dr. Ulrich Eumann (Center for the Documentation of National Socialism, Cologne)
Prof. dr. Claire Lemercier (SciencesPo, CNRS, Paris)
Linda Keyserlingk (Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr Dresden)
Florian Kerschbaumer (Universität Klagenfurt, Österreich)
Dr. Martin Stark (University of Hamburg)
Dr. Lieve Van Hoof (Department of History, Ghent University)
Prof. dr. Raf Vanderstraeten (Department of Sociology, Ghent University)


Prosopographies and social networks workshop

March 28, 2014

prosopProsopographies are great sources for building past social networks. Those interested in or working with large datasets of past individuals might be interested in the Prosop workshop. More information below. or on prosop.org

Prosop: a social networking tool for the past

Call for participants

Second database development workshop

Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL) on May 9, 2014.

Historians and other scholars with large databases of historical person data are invited to a workshop to test and populate Prosop, a project funded by the Office of Digital Humanities of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

What is Prosop?

Prosop is a collaborative semantic web database of details about individuals in the past. Although it maps networks and discovers connections, it is not just facebook for dead people. In particular, it aims to:

  • manage diverse types of data from different historical settings,
  • aggregate of large quantities of person data,
  • accommodate uncertain and conflicting information, and
  • facilitate data-driven study of historical systems of description and classification.
  • For more detailed information, visit our website at prosop.org

What kinds of data do we seek?

We’re looking for information about relatively large sets of relatively ordinary people from the past. Typically, this information is extracted from archival records used by microhistorians. For example, the database contains the name, age, address, and physical description of 700 criminal court defendants from 1880s Egypt. Prosop is meant to work for all kinds of historical person data, and we are especially interested in data in unusual formats (linguistic, topical, or otherwise) that will help us to develop the flexibility of the system. Also, we are looking for participants who are willing to share their data with the community of researchers using Prosop.

Applying with a counterpart

For this workshop, we are especially interested in applications from pairs of researchers who have similar datasets and would like to test them for possible overlap. Prosop may help them to discover common individuals and explore community characteristics.

What will happen at the workshops?

Before the workshop, each participant will submit a tranche of names, which will be imported into Prosop. Participants will describing the characteristics of their data and the ways it might interact with other person data. Those working in pairs will consider any overlap that Prosop found, as well as commonalities that it fails to discover. Participants will discuss issues of categorization and comparison that arise. We will work to find ways to link data and to make the system more usable. The workshop will provide a chance for historians and developers to communicate.

What’s in it for participants?

Workshop participants will contribute to the design of a tool that will enable new research into global social history, and will have early access to its results. They should gain new perspectives on their own data and its place in the global history of person information. Those working in pairs may discover fruitful overlap between their data sets. Participants’ experience and input will help to refine the system towards its aim, which is to encompass all categories of historical person data. Participant costs will be covered by the organizers, though some cost sharing may be asked of those applying from abroad.

How to apply?

Apply via the form available here. You will be asked to attach a CV and a letter of application, which should include a general description of the data which you wish to contribute to the project. Where possible, please specify:

  • the number of persons in the database
  • the categories of information recorded about each person (e.g. name, age, birthplace, occupation)
  • the geographical and chronological range of the persons represented
  • the type of sources from which the information is drawn (language, archives, genres).

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applications for the second workshop is April 7, 2014.

Are there other ways to participate?

Prosop is an ongoing project. In addition to possible future workshops, we are looking for beta testers. If you are not able to join this workshop, but might want to be involved in the future, please get in touch via our website and join our mailing list.


CFP Student Conference Complexity Science

March 13, 2014

artworkThink your spaghetti monster networks are complex? Think again! The student conference on complexity science promises to reveal complexity in the most diverse things: fish, ant hills, traffic, and of course networks of every conceivable type. The University of Southampton’s Institute for Complex Systems Simulation is organising this year’s student conference in complexity science held in Brighton, bringing together a multi-disciplinary bunch of UK-based students crossing the physical and social sciences, as well as the Humanities (Archaeology will definitely be represented). Keynotes include Mark Newman (reason enough for networky people to attend), Nigel Gilbert (editor of JASSS), and Eörs Szathmáry (theoretical evolutionary biology). The Call for papers is out now and will be open until 14 April.

Check out the conference website for more info.

The Student Conference on Complexity Science (SCCS) is the largest UK conference for early-career researchers working under the interdisciplinary framework of Complex Systems, with a particular focus on computational modelling, simulation and network analysis. Since 2010, this conference series has brought together PhD students and early career researchers from both the UK and overseas, whose interests span areas as diverse as quantum physics, ecological food webs or the economics of happiness. This interdisciplinary nature of the conference is reflected by the diversity of keynote speakers as well as practical, hands-on workshops.

The SCCS is the perfect forum in which to present your work, discuss your ideas and gain useful skills. If your work comes under the umbrella of complexity science, then we want to hear from you! Thanks to the generosity of the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation we will be able to offer a number of student travel bursaries. The deadline for the call for abstracts is 14th April 2014.


CFP Simulating the past at ESSA, Barcelona

March 12, 2014

simulpastThe second call for papers is out for the ‘Simulating the past to understand human history’ conference, with further information on the pre-conference published proceedings and post-conference publication plans. More info here:

Dear Colleagues,

From September 1st to 5th, 2014, the European Social Simulation Association (http://www.essa.eu.org/) will celebrate its annual meeting in Barcelona (Spain), at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (www.uab.cat):

SOCIAL SIMULATION-2014

http://www.essa2014.eu/

On that occasion there will be the satellite conference, organized in collaboration with the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Society (http://caaconference.org/about/):

SIMULATING THE PAST TO UNDERSTAND HUMAN HISTORY

The conference is organized with the contribution of the SimulPast project (www.simulpast.es), a 5-year exploratory research project funded by the Spanish Government (MICINN, CSD2010-00034) that aims at developing an innovative and interdisciplinary methodological framework to model and simulate ancient societies and their relationship with environmental transformations. To achieve these aims, SimulPast integrates knowledge from diverse fields covering humanities, social, computational and ecological sciences within a national and international network.

The conference intention is to showcase the result of the SimulPast project together with current international research on the methodological and theoretical aspects of computer simulation in archaeological and historical contexts. The conference will bring together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds (history, ecology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, computer science and complex systems) in order to promote deeper understanding and collaboration in the study of past human behavior and history.

Invited Keynote speakers:

Dr. Timothy A. Kohler (Washington State University) (http://libarts.wsu.edu/anthro/faculty/kohler.html), and

Joshua M. Epstein (Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences (CAM) at Johns Hopkins University) (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/emergencymedicine/Faculty/JHH/EPSTEIN_joshua.html)

Applications are welcomed on all subjects (from Anthropology, Archaeology, Geography and Political or Economic History) using different approaches to social simulation and presenting case studies from any region of the world and any prehistoric or historic period. Theoretical aspects of social and cultural evolution are also encouraged.

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

Applications of computational modeling in archaeology and history
Social organization and change
Cultural transmission and evolution
Long term socio-ecology
Human adaptation and climate change
Cooperation and social interaction
Trade and exchange
Hunter-Gatherers
Origins of State
Origins of Agriculture
Economic History
History of War and Conflict
Paleolithic, Neolithic
Ages of Metals
Greek and Roman History
Medieval History
Modern History

The Conference submission policy is:

Abstracts for oral presentations and posters (1000 words), Deadline: April, 11th., 2014 https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=socialsimulation2014
Once accepted, authors can submit full papers for the digital publication as a CEUR Workshop Proceedings Online for Scientific Workshops (with ISBN), and will be available before the Conference begins. Abstracts for oral presentations, posters and papers will also be freely available through Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona Digital Repository, and will be submitted for indexation by Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Index (ISI) – Web of Science. Published contributions must have at least one author who has registered for the conference with payment by July 31th 2014 for the paper to appear in the proceedings. The proper link will be available in the next days. We apologize for the delay in updating the website!

There are three kinds of published contributions:

Full papers (10000 words)
Extended abstracts (4000 words
Posters (A3 format)
Deadline for Full papers, Extended Abstracts and Posters, June 15th.2014.

After the conference, a selection of the most relevant papers will be published as a book or special issue of a specialized journal. We are in the process of selecting the most suitable publisher: Cambridge UP, Oxford UP, Routledge, Francis & Taylor, Springer, etc.

For more information do not hesitate to contact the local organizers (juanantonio.barcelo@uab.cat). Detailed information, templates for submitting papers and EasyChair links for submissions and registration will be available at: http://www.essa2014.eu/. Simulating the Past to Understand Human History is a special track of the SOCIAL SIMULATION-2014 Conference, so you should register at this conference to attend our special workshop. Deadlines, registration and submission procedures are the same for all satellite conferences at this event.

Given the coincidence with Union Internationale des Sciences Prehistoriques et Protohistoriques Meeting in Burgos (Spain) (http://www.burgos2014uispp.com), every effort will be made in order to allow interested researchers to assist to both Conferences. Burgos is well connected with Barcelona by plane (from Valladolid) or by train.


Juan A. BARCELO Associate Professor of Quantitative Archaeology Dept. Prehistory. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona E-08193 Bellaterra Spain tel. +34935814335 personal web page: http://gent.uab.cat/barcelo


Complex networks at SIDEER symposium

February 24, 2014

sideerNetwork science is a fiercly multi-disciplinary undertaking these days. This is again confirmed by the SIDEER symposium on ‘Exploring real world networks: from genes to ecosystems’. The programme lists a few well-known names in network science (including Shlomo Havlin who co-developed the interesting ‘networks of networks’ concept for understanding the inter-dependence of networks), and it also includes a few humanities topics. No history or archaeology as far as I know. Still, this event might be of interest to some readers of this blog.

When? 11-13 March 2014
Where? Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben Gurion, Israel
More info online.

The complexity of real world systems, from the molecular level of gene complexes all the way up to large scale dynamics of ecosystems and social structures, can be captured by network analysis. The emerging discipline of complex network analysis studies the topologies of the networks of complex interactions amongst many participants of a given system. By doing so, insights and patterns, undetected at the individual level, can be revealed and analyzed at the network level. The Sixth Annual SIDEER Symposium will focus on the latest theory and methods of network analysis aimed at studying networks found in the real world, as well as interesting implementation of network analysis in varied scientific fields such as gene networks, social networks in humans and animals, ecological-epidemiological networks, climatic networks and many more.


CFP European Conference on Social Networks

February 19, 2014

uabEurope now has its own social networks conference! It emerged out of the annual ASNA and UKSNA conferences. My new employer, the Algorithmics group of the University of Konstanz, is also one of the partners of this new initiative. What’s more, my new boss Prof. Ulrik Brandes will give a keynote talk at the meeting. All of this makes me very confident that archaeological papers will be more than welcome at the event, so go ahead and submit! More information below or on the conference website.

The 1st European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN, eusn@eusn.org) will be held at the Faculty of Arts, Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) on July 1-4, 2014.
This European conference replaces the annual ASNA and UKSNA conference in 2014, having received a regional conference endorsement by INSNA.
In this occasion the EUSN will pay special attention to Latin American researchers on social networks in order to foster the creation of a regional conference also in Latin America.
The EUSN is organized by the research group egolab-GRAFO (Social and Cultural Anthropology Department), with the support of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, the Algorithmics Group from the University of Konstanz, the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS), the Department of Educational and Cultural Sociology from the University of Cologne, and the Laboratory of Personal Networks and Communities (LRPC), University of Sevilla. Other Departments and Institutes from the UAB that support the Conference are the Centre for Sociological Studies of Daily Life and Work (QUIT-IEE) of the Department of Sociology, and the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), among others.

All the conference information and more can be found at: http://jornades.uab.cat/eusn/content/welcome-1st-european-conference-social-networks-eusn
If you have any questions regarding the scientific program (submission procedure etc), please do not hesitate to contact pc@eusn.org.


CFP Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks

February 17, 2014

ahcn2014The arts, humanities, and complex networks satellite conference at netsci has announced its CFP. I presented at it once and it provides a very stimulating multi-disciplinary environment to present humanities/network related research. A number of videos of previous years’ events are available online and many of the talks have been published as short papers in the MIT-press journal Leonardo and as an e-book. More information can be found below and on the event website.

We are delighted to invite submissions for

Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks
— 5th Leonardo satellite symposium at NetSci2014

taking place in Berkeley at the Clark Kerr Campus of the University of California,
on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

Submission:
For submission instructions please go to:

http://artshumanities.netsci2014.net/

Deadline for submission: March 28, 2014.
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by April 7, 2014.

Abstract:
For the fifth time, it is our pleasure to bring together pioneer work in the overlap of arts, humanities, network research, data science, and information design. The 2014 symposium will follow our established recipe, leveraging interaction between those areas by means of keynotes, a number of contributions, and a high-profile panel discussion. In our call, we are looking for a diversity of research contributions revolving around networks in culture, networks in art, networks in the humanities, art about networks, and research in network visualization. Focusing on these five pillars that have crystallized out of our previous meetings, the 2014 symposium again strives to make further impact in the arts, humanities, and natural sciences. Running parallel to the NetSci2014 conference, the symposium provides a unique opportunity to mingle with leading researchers in complex network science, potentially sparking fruitful collaborations. As in previous years, selected papers will be published in print, both in a Special Section of Leonardo Journal and in a dedicated Leonardo eBook MIT-Press: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007S0UA9Q

Confirmed Keynote:
Lada Adamic, Associate Professor, University of Michigan & Data Scientist, Facebook, USA

As in previous years, we will feature three high-profile keynote speakers from the areas of cultural data science, network visualization, and network art.

Best regards,
The AHCN2014 organizers,
Maximilian Schich*, Roger Malina**, Isabel Meirelles***, and Meredith Tromble****
artshumanities.netsci@gmail.com

* Associate Professor, ATEC, The University of Texas at Dallas, USA
** Executive Editor at Leonardo Publications, France/USA
*** Associate Professor, Dept. of Art + Design, Northeastern University, USA
**** School of Interdisciplinary Studies, San Francisco Art Institute, USA


Networking Ancient Prosopographies

February 17, 2014

snapProsopographies are lists of people mentioned in ancient sources. There are many of these out there, containing a wealth of information on individuals and fragments of their life stories. The UK’s AHRC has just funded a project that aims to create standards for drawing links between databases of people from Greek and Latin texts. I cannot wait to see some of the project’s first results: such information on people and the way they might have been related is a dream for anyone using a network perspective to the study of antiquity. You can find out more about the project and the team led by Gabriel Bodard on the project website. Here is the press release:

A consortium led by scholars in Digital Humanities at King’s College London has been awarded an AHRC Digital Transformations Big Data grant to develop links between several databases of people from classical antiquity. The SNAP:DRGN project (“Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies: Data and Relations in Greco-roman Names”), will work with partners at Oxford, Southampton, Edinburgh, Leuven in Belgium, and Duke in the United States, to create standards for bringing together references that are to the same or related people from ancient Greek and Latin texts.

Scholars in the field of classical prosopography (publishing information about known people, their lives, and their relationships) have produced dozens of different collections, organized by region, time period, or political entity, and differing widely in scholarly approaches and technical standards. Dr Gabriel Bodard, the principal investigator of the project, says, “We can only do this work by working closely with both academic and professional experts in the study of ancient people and names, and information scientists who specialize in networked datasets. All of our work will be based on example data from partner projects who record and collate data from Classical Greece, the Roman Empire, Hellenistic Babylon, Greco-Roman Egypt and the Byzantine world. We’re not attempting to impose new models, but rather to reflect the diverse scholarly practices already in use to enable links between collections of people.”

Dr K. Faith Lawrence, the development lead, says, “This is really exciting work because it offers us the opportunity to apply Big Data methodology to bridge existing collections that are currently restricted to their respective data silos. Linked Open Data offers a very powerful way to bring together distributed knowledge, and especially to define entry points. Projects can refer to a figure, name or office within the classical world using the network of collected information from different sources as an authority. This has already been done very successfully for ancient places, but the possibility for scholars to link person and name authorities has been sadly lagging behind. This project will change that.”

By focusing on the way datasets can be brought together, SNAP embraces wider questions of person-tracking, applicable far beyond the Classical world. Without the important issues of privacy that constrain modern networks, the project is able to reflect on the ubiquity of tracking in the modern day. While initially working with data from the Greco-Roman period, we are in discussion with projects that look at other times and places. We hope that our standards can lead to linking prosopographical and biographical information across historical periods and contemporary data.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,089 other followers