BiographyNet

Extracting relations between people and events

Image: Bartholomeus van der Helst, Banquet of the Amsterdam Civic Guard in Celebration of the Peace of Münster (CC License)

Imagine we would have a search engine linking data of over 75.000 Dutch historical people. Which relations would we be able to reveal between people and events, geographical movements and networks between people? What do they tell historians about the formation of Dutch society and the ‘boundaries of the Netherlands’? How did the current Dutch elite develop from the colonial past?

The use of biographies in academic theories and methods is by some still not considered as a worthy academic discipline, being too anecdotal and limited. But as Brian Harrison stated in 2004: “…when the capsule biography of an individual is combined with 50.000 others, many of them relatively obscure, […] and when they are all powerfully searchable online, the social historian’s grumbles about biography’s limitations as an approach to historical study dissolves into nothingness.”

It is the ‘Art and Science of History’: Drawing up a narrative from primary and secondary sources which approximates historical reality as well as possible. The only way to falsify presented historical facts is by going back to the original source(s) and look at those source(s) critically. Therefore, it is important to know exactly what information comes from where. On the website of the Dutch Biography Portal you can find scientific information about various leaders and other prominent figures from Dutch history; from the earliest times up to the present day. The website is constantly replenished with new information and images. Working with the Dutch Biography Portal involves studying complex data that is incomplete and ‘noisy’. This project aims to enhance the potential of the Dutch Biography Portal by transforming the available data into a semantic knowledge base.

BiographyNet’s multidisciplinary team combines expertise from history, computer science, and computational linguistics. A generic text mining tool will be developed that converts textual data into structured data. An easy-to-use interface will be developed that will inspire historians to undertake new research and give direction, rather than being the ‘closing factor’ in their research.

Ultimately, the project may help to reveal unknown relations between people and events by linking data that has mainly been studied in isolation so far.

Participating organisations

Social Sciences & Humanities
Social Sciences & Humanities
Huygens Instituut
Netherlands eScience Center
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Impact

Output

  • 1.
    Published in 2015
  • 2.
    Author(s): Tommaso Caselli, Antske Fokkens, Roser Morante, Piek Vossen
    Published in Proceedings of the International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation SemEval-2015 in 2015
  • 3.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake, Antske Fokkens
    Published in Proceedings of the first Conference on Biographical Data in a Digital World in 2015, page: 85-93
  • 4.
    Published in 2015
  • 5.
    Author(s): Antske Fokkens, Serge ter Braake, Niels Ockeloen, Piek Vossen, Susan Legene, Guus Schrijber
    Published in Proceedings of the 9th edition of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC) in 2014
  • 6.
    Author(s): Antske Fokkens, A Soroa, Z Beloki, Niels Ockeloen, G Rigau, W R van Hage, P T J M Vossen
    Published in Proceedings of the 10th Joint ACL - ISO Workshop on Interoperable Semantic Annotation in 2014
  • 7.
    Published in 2014
  • 8.
    Published in 2014
  • 9.
    Published in 2013
  • 10.
    Author(s): Antske Fokkens,, Marieke van Erp, Marten Postma, Ted Pedersen, Piek Vossen, Nuno Freire
    Published in Proceedings of the 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics in 2013
  • 11.
    Author(s): Antske Fokkens, Marieke van Erp, Piek Vossen, Sara Tonelli, Willem Robert van Hage, Luciano Serafini, Rachele Sprugnoli, Jesper Hoeksema
    Published in 2013
  • 12.
    Author(s): Niels Ockeloen, Antske Fokkens, Serge ter Braake, Piek Vossen, Victor de Boer, Guus Schreiber, Susan Legene
    Published in Proceedings of the Workshop on Linked Science (LiSC) in 2013
  • 13.
    Published in 2013
  • 14.
    Published in 2013
  • 1.
    Published in 2015
  • 2.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake
    Published in Tijdschrift voor Biografie by Tijdschrift voor Biografie in 2013, page: 52-61
  • 1.
    Published in 2016
  • 2.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake
    Published in 2016
  • 3.
    Published in 2015
  • 4.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake, Antske Fokkens
    Published in 2015
  • 5.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake
    Published in 2015
  • 6.
    Published in 2014
  • 7.
    Published in 2014
  • 8.
    Published in 2014
  • 9.
    Published in 2014
  • 10.
    Published in 2014
  • 11.
    Author(s): Antske Fokkens, Niels Ockeloen, Serge ter Braake, Piek Vossen, Guus Schreiber, Susan Legene
    Published in 2014
  • 12.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake, Antske Fokkens, Fred van Lieburg
    Published in 2014
  • 13.
    Published in 2014
  • 14.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake
    Published in 2014
  • 15.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake, Antske Fokkens, Niels Ockeloen
    Published in 2014
  • 16.
    Author(s): Antske Fokkens, Aitor Soroa, Zuhaitz Beloki, Niels Ockeloen, German Rigau, Willem Robert van Hage, Piek Vossen
    Published in 2014
  • 17.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake, Antske Fokkens, Niels Ockeloen
    Published in 2014
  • 18.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake, Antske Fokkens
    Published in 2014
  • 19.
    Author(s): Susan Legene, Serge ter Braake, Niels Ockeloen, Piek Vossen, Antske Fokkens
    Published in 2014
  • 20.
    Author(s): Marieke van Erp, Antske Fokkens, Piek Vossen, Sara Tonelli, Willem Robert van Hage, Luciano Serafini, Rachele Sprugnoli, Jesper Hoeksema
    Published in 2013
  • 21.
    Published in 2013
  • 22.
    Published in 2013
  • 23.
    Published in 2013
  • 24.
    Published in 2013
  • 25.
    Author(s): Piek Vossen
    Published in 2013
  • 26.
    Author(s): Niels Ockeloen, Antske Fokkens, Serge ter Braake, Piek Vossen, Victor de Boer, Guus Schreiber, Susan Legene
    Published in 2013
  • 27.
    Author(s): Serge ter Braake, Antske Fokkens, Niels Ockeloen, Rik Hoekstra, Susan Legene, Piek Vossen, Guus Schreiber
    Published in 2013
  • 28.
    Author(s): Niels Ockeloen, Victor de Boer, Lora Aroyo
    Published in 2013

Team

GS
Guus Schreiber
Principal investigator
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
NO
Niels Ockeloen
PhD student
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
AF
Antske Fokkens
Co-Applicant
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Jisk Attema
Programme Manager
Netherlands eScience Center
MI
Milena Ivanova
eScience Research Engineer
Netherlands eScience Center

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