Pelagios colloquium “Linked Pasts”

April 7, 2015

pelagiosThe Pelagios project has been providing the Humanities with linked data goodness for a few years now. This year the project will host a two-day colloquium that will be of interest to those reading this blog. More details below.

When? 20-21 July 2015

Where? King’s College London

Dear all,
The Pelagios project is pleased to announce a two-day colloquium on the subject of “Linked Pasts”. Bringing together leading exponents of Linked Data from across the Humanities and Cultural Heritage sector, we address some of the challenges to developing a digital ecosystem of online open materials, through two days of position papers, discussion and breakout group activity. Day 1 will tackle the themes of Time, Geo and People, and issues of Open Data, Classification Schemes and Infrastructure. Day 2 will be devoted to two parallel structured activities, one exploring Niches (space, time, people), and the other Nutrition Cycles (open data, classification, infrastructure). For details of the line up of talks and contributors, see below.
Venue and date: The Great Hall, KCL (Strand Campus), 20-21 July 2015
Refreshments (tea/coffee, lunch) will be provided, along with a reception on Monday evening. The event is free of charge but places are limited. To reserve your place, go to:
Day 1
   Welcome – Pelagios: A Linked Pasts Ecosystem?
   Keynote – Sebastian Heath (NYU), TBA
Session 1
   Time – Ryan Shaw (UNC), An Ecosystem of Time Periods: PeriodO (
   Geo – Ruth Mostern (UC Merced), An Ecosystem of Places: Gazetteers
   People – Gabriel Bodard (KCL), An Ecosystem of People: SNAP (
Session 2
   Open Data – Mia Ridge (OU), Trends and Practice within Cultural Heritage
   Classification schemes – Antoine Isaac (Amsterdam), Europeana (
Day 2
Session 3: Towards an Infrastructure
   Rainer Simon (AIT): The Recogito Annotation Platform (
   Humphrey Southall (Portsmouth): PastPlace gazetteer (
   Guenther Goerz (Erlangen): WissKI (
   Holly Wright/Doug Tudhope: Ariadne (
Session 4
   Structured Activity 1: Niches (Space, Time, People)
   Structured Activity 2: Nutrition Cycles (Open Data, Classification, Infrastructure)
Wrap up: feedback, next steps + community actions

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 <> 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

There are a small number of UK travel bursaries available for postgraduate students – email 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 (
Stefan Bouzarovski (

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.

Hestia2 in Stanford: visualising complex data

October 23, 2013

Hestia_logo_whtRemember the Hestia2 event we organised in Southampton in July with The Connected Past? Time for more of that! The Hestia project is pleased to announce its second community event, which will take place at Stanford University on 4-5 November 2013. The two-day workshop, hosted by Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, will tackle the issue of visualizing complex data, and will be of interest to anyone working on network theory and the digital analysis of literature and historical material.

It will include presentations from various local high-tech companies developing complex data analysis and hands-on work with the following humanities projects based in Stanford:
Orbis 2.0, the latest geospatial network model of the ancient world;
Arches, a new open-source geospatial software system for cultural heritage inventory and management;
– Palladio, a new platform for visualizing and analyzing networks of historical data;
– Topotime, a new data model and graphical layout designed specifically to handle the fuzzy temporal bounds and cyclical time of literary narratives.

This two-day event is free for all. We simply ask you to register in advance here.

For more information about the event and about Hestia, please visit our blog.

We look forward to welcoming you in Stanford!

Best wishes

The Hestia2 team

**Hestia2 is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council**

CFP Hestia2 seminar

April 29, 2013

hestiaThree years ago I attended the conference that concluded the Hestia project. I gave my second presentation ever at that conference and met loads of fascinating people, all of which I am still good friends with. Project Hestia was all about using new computing techniques to explore the use of space in Herodotus’ ‘Histories’. The conference drew an eclectic mix of computer scientists, classicists, historians and archaeologists. As always happens at such multi-disciplinary events, academics with a different background always find common ground that leads to fascinating discussions.

I was glad to hear that the Hestia team managed to get follow-on funding from the AHRC, and even happier that this time round I got to be part of the team. The Connected Past is a partner in Hestia2. We are organising a one-day seminar at The University of Southampton on 18 July on spatial network analysis in archaeology, history, classics, teaching and commercial archaeology. Hestia part 2 is all about public engagement, so expect a mixed crowd and fascinating discussions!

We welcome abstracts for this event, so please go ahead and send yours in now. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in attending. More info on the call for paper can be found below or on the Connected Past website.


HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources

University of Southampton 18th July 2013
Organisers: Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans
In collaboration with The Connected Past

A free one-day seminar on spatial network analysis in archaeology, history, classics, teaching and commercial archaeology.

Spatial relationships are everywhere in our sources about the past: from the ancient roads that connect cities, or ancient authors mentioning political alliances between places, to the stratigraphic contexts archaeologists deal with in their fieldwork. However, as datasets about the past become increasingly large, these spatial networks become ever more difficult to disentangle. Network techniques allow us to address such spatial relationships explicitly and directly through network visualisation and analysis. This seminar aims to explore the potential of such innovative techniques for research, public engagement and commercial purposes.

The seminar is part of Hestia2, a public engagement project aimed at introducing a series of conceptual and practical innovations to the spatial reading and visualisation of texts. Following on from the AHRC-funded “Network, Relation, Flow: Imaginations of Space in Herodotus’s Histories” (Hestia), Hestia2 represents a deliberate shift from experimenting with geospatial analysis of a single text to making Hestia’s outcomes available to new audiences and widely applicable to other texts through a seminar series, online platform, blog and learning materials with the purpose of fostering knowledge exchange between researchers and non-academics, and generating public interest and engagement in this field.

For this first Hestia2 workshop we welcome contributions addressing any of (but not restricted to) the following themes:
• Spatial network analysis techniques
• Spatial networks in archaeology, history and classics
• Techniques for the discovery and analysis of networks from textual sources
• Exploring spatial relationships in classical and archaeological sources
• The use of network visualisations and linked datasets for archaeologists active in the commercial sector and teachers
• Applications of network analysis in archaeology, history and classics

Please email proposed titles and abstracts (max. 250 words) to: by May 13th 2013.

A great Digital Humanities 2012 in Hamburg

July 23, 2012

This year’s Digital Humanities conference ended this weekend and it was a great success. The entire event was perfectly organised by the University of Hamburg. They even anticipated rain by providing DH-branded umbrellas. There was a record number of delegates, presentations were of high quality and the social events were a reflection of its host city’s image as a party capital and heimat of The Beatles. The University of Southampton was also well represented, with among others a workshop by Leif Isaksen and colleagues on modelling space and time in the humanities, a presentation on the Pelagios project, and one on Ptolemy’s Geography.

I myself did a presentation on my work with citation network analysis. I was also awarded an ADHO award bursary for young DH scholars.

By clicking on the links above you can see recordings of these presentations, but videos of many other presentations are available as well. Just have a look at the conference programme. There was alot of Twitter activity with #dh2012 and do also have a look at the DH student assistants blog. This year’s Fortier Prize went to @marcgalexander and Willard McCarty was awarded the Busa Prize.

As a first-time DH attendee I must say it is an awesome event organised by a vibrant and lovely community of friends. I would encourage everyone to attend future DH meetings.

Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks ebook now out!

April 12, 2012

Leonardo (the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology) and MIT Press produced a new ebook that confirms the Arts and Humanities finally form a valuable part of the growing group of disciplines often associated with complex network research. The ebook edited by Maximilian Schich, Roger Malina and Isabel Meirelles is a collection of 26 short articles based on presentations at the Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks Leonardo Days at the NetSci conferences, the High Throughput Humanities conference, and most were previously published in Leonardo journal. The works by specialists in fields as diverse as archaeology, history, music, visualisation and language studies illustrate that the Arts and Humanities can make original contributions to complex network research and provide fascinating new perspectives in a wide range of disciplines. A nice online companion was launched together with the ebook.

The volume includes two contributions by researchers from The University of Southampton: the Google Ancient Places project is discussed by Leif Isaksen and colleagues, and the Urban Connectivity in Iron Age and Roman Southern Spain project was introduced by Simon Keay, Graeme Earl and myself. You can find a draft of that last article on my bibliography page.

You can order the ebook on Amazon.

Do check it out!

Here is the full table of contents:

Preface by Roger Malina
Introduction by Isabel Meirelles and Maximilian Schich

I Networks in Culture

Networks of Photos, Landmarks, and People
David Crandall and Noah Snavely

GAP: A NeoGeo Approach to Classical Resources
Leif Isaksen et al.

Complex Networks in Archaeology: Urban Connectivity in Iron Age and Roman Southern Spain
Tom Brughmans, Simon Keay, and Graeme Earl

II Networks in Art

Sustaining a Global Community: Art and Religion in the Network of Baroque Hispanic-American Paintings
Juan Luis Suárez, Fernando Sancho, and Javier de la Rosa

Marek Claassen

When the Rich Don’t Get Richer: Equalizing Tendencies of Creative Networks
John Bell and Jon Ippolito

The Mnemosyne Atlas and The Meaning of Panel 79 in Aby Warburg’s Oeuvre as a Distributed Object
Sara Angel

Documenting Artistic Networks: Anna Oppermann’s Ensembles Are Complex Networks!
Martin Warnke and Carmen Wedemeyer

Net-Working with Maciunas
Astrit Schmidt-Burkhardt

Network Science: A New Method for Investigating the Complexity of Musical Experiences in the Brain
Robin W. Wilkins et al.

Networks of Contemporary Popular Musicians
Juyong Park

III Networks in the Humanities

The Making of Sixty-Nine Days of Close Encounters at the Science Gallery
Wouter Van den Broeck et al.

Social, Sexual and Economic Networks of Prostitution
Petter Holme

06.213: Attacks with Knives and Sharp Instruments: Quantitative Coding and the Witness To Atrocity
Ben Miller

The Social Network of Dante’s Inferno
Amedeo Cappelli et al.

A World Map of Knowledge in the Making: Wikipedia’s Inter-Language Linkage as a Dependency Explorer of Global Knowledge Accumulation
Thomas Petzold et al.

Evolution of Romance Language in Written Communication: Network Analysis of Late Latin and Early Romance Corpora
Alexander Mehler et al.

Need to Categorize: A Comparative Look at the Categories Of Universal Decimal Classification System and Wikipedia
Almila Akdag Salah et al.

The Development of the Journal Environment of Leonardo
Alkim Almila Akdag Salah and Loet Leydesdorff

IV Art about Networks

Tell Them Anything but the Truth: They Will Find Their Own. How We Visualized the Map of the Future with Respect to the Audience of Our Story
Michele Graffieti et al.

Model Ideas: From Stem Cell Simulation to Floating Art Work
Jane Prophet

Culture, Data and Algorithmic Organization
George Legrady

Cybernetic Bacteria 2.0
Anna Dumitriu

Narcotic of the Narrative
Ward Shelley

V Research in Network Visualization

Building Network Visualization Tools to Facilitate Metacognition Incomplex Analysis
Barbara Mirel

Pursuing the Work of Jacques Bertin
Nathalie Henry Riche