Affiliations: [a] Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities (HELDIG), University of Helsinki, Finland | [b] Semantic Computing Research Group (SeCo), Department of Computer Science, Aalto University, Finland
Abstract: This paper discusses a shift of focus in research on Cultural Heritage semantic portals, based on Linked Data, and envisions and proposes new directions of research. Three generations of portals are identified: Ten years ago the research focus in semantic portal development was on data harmonization, aggregation, search, and browsing (“first generation systems”). At the moment, the rise of Digital Humanities research has started to shift the focus to providing the user with integrated tools for solving research problems in interactive ways (“second generation systems”). This paper envisions and argues that the next step ahead to “third generation systems” is based on Artificial Intelligence: future portals not only provide tools for the human to solve problems but are used for finding research problems in the first place, for addressing them, and even for solving them automatically under the constraints set by the human researcher. Such systems should preferably be able to explain their reasoning, which is an important aspect in the source critical humanities research tradition. The second and third generation systems set new challenges for both computer scientists and humanities researchers.
Keywords: Digital Humanities, Linked Data, Semantic portals, Data analysis, knowledge discovery