Abstract: In recent years gazetteers based on semantic web technologies were discussed as an effective way to describe, formalize and standardize place data by using contextual information as a method to structure and distinguish places from each other. While research concerning semantic gazetteers with regard to historical places has pointed out the importance of enabling the creation of a global and epoch-spanning gazetteer, we want to emphasize the importance of taking a domain oriented approach as well – in our case, focusing on places set in medieval and early modern times. By discussing the topic from the historians’ perspective, we will be able to identify a number of challenges that are specific to the semantic representation of places set in these time periods. We will then do a survey of existing gazetteer projects that are taking historical places into account. This will enable us to find out which technologies and practices already exist, that can meet the demands of a gazetteer that considers the time specific geographic, social and administrative structures of medieval and early modern times. Finally we will develop a catalogue of design practices for such a semantic gazetteer. Our recommendations will be derived from these existing solutions as well as from our epoch-specific challenges identified before.
Keywords: Linked data, digital humanities, historical gazeteers, historical places, digital history
Journal: Semantic Web, vol. Pre-press, no. Pre-press, pp. 1-23, 2020