Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Facets and structured research data in the Digital Humanities

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Facets and structured research data in the Digital Humanities"— Presentation transcript:

1 Facets and structured research data in the Digital Humanities
Annual Bliss Classification Association Lecture 19 April 2013 Facets and structured research data in the Digital Humanities John Bradley and Michele Pasin

2 Annual Bliss Classification Association Lecture 19 April 2013
Facetted modelling in the dynamic world of structured humanities scholarship John Bradley

3 Structured Data DDH projects
Bpi1700: (British Printed Images before 1700) CVMA: (Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi—Medieval stained glass) PBE: Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire (published on CD) PBW: Prosopography of the Byzantine World PASE: (Prosopography of Anglo-saxon England) CCEd: Clergy of the Church of England: EMLoT: Early Modern London Theatres: DIAMM: Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music: OCVE: Online Chopin Variorum Edition: PoMS: Paradox of Medieval Scotland: Art of Making: Records of Early English Drama The Making of Charlemagne’s Europe The Breaking of Britain

4 Text in, Text out Source Source Primary Sources Historical Research
Article Book / Article Source Second’ry Source “the historical work as what it most manifestly is: a verbal structure in the form of a narrative prose discourse” Hayden White (1973), quoted in Jörn Rüsen (1987). “Historical Narration: Foundation, Types, Reason” in History and Theory Vol 26 No 4

5 Historians and narrative text
“Multiplicity is inherent in the word-narratives used to communicate history. Words are complex forms of information; they have 'halos of meaning', making them wonderfully evocative but imprecise and slippery. [...] Historians embrace this range of meanings. We prefer the medium of words and narratives because it permits us to represent the past as multidimensional, complex, and nonlinear, even though structurally our prose and our logic are sequential.” David J. Bodenhamer (2008), "History and GIS: Implications for the Discipline", in Anne Kelly Knowles (ed.) (2008). Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and the GIS Are Changing Historical Scholarship. Redlands, CA: ESRI Press. p. 224

6 Structured Data: Appropriate to the Humanities?
“humanistic inquiry reveals itself as an activity fundamentally dependent upon the location of pattern.” “Of all the technologies in use among computing humanists, databases are perhaps the best suited to facilitating and exploiting [pattern].” “To build a database one must be willing to move from the forest to the trees and back again; to use a database is to reap the benefits of the enhanced vision which the system affords.” Stephen Ramsay (2004). “Databases” in A Companion to Digital Humanities”.

7 Appropriate to the Humanities?
the underlying ontology [that a database represents] has considerable intellectual value. A well-designed database that contains information about people, buildings, and events in New York City contains not static information, but an entire set of ontological relations capable of generating statements about a domain. A truly relational database, in other words, contains not merely "Central Park", "Frederick Law Olmstead", and "1857", but a far more suggestive string of logical relationships (e.g., "Frederick Law Olmstead submitted his design for Central Park in New York during 1857"). (from Steven Ramsay, “Databases” in A Companion to Digital Humanities”)

8 Data, Structure, Interpretation
"There can be no data without structure, and all structure is interface, whether we view it as a screen appearance or not. [...] Even more importantly, all interfaces—visible as well as invisible—are interpretational forms." (McGann, Jerome (2010). "Sustainability: The Elephant in the Room". In Online Humanities Scholarship: The Shape of Things to Come. Houston Texas: Rice University Press)

9 Three example projects
BPI1700: British Printed Images before 1700 EMLoT: Early Modern London Theatres PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England

10 bpi1700 “This website, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, makes available a database of thousands of prints and book illustrations from early modern Britain in fully-searchable form.” (from bpi1700 webpage) Online version gives free access to all these images

11 Purpose behind bpi1700 “Printed images are striking and revealing, potentially serving a wide range of illustrative and interpretative uses. They range from high art to crude satire, and significant conclusions can be drawn from their circulation and consumption about the culture of their period. Yet they are surprisingly little used by researchers, partly because they are currently difficult to access. This project seeks to rectify this by making a comprehensive collection of early modern British prints available online, and by promoting research on their relationship to their milieu.” (proposal to the AHRC)

12 BPI1700 online


14 Bpi1700 DB structure overview
Person Appears in Work Producer Created by Represented in Subject Has these Role in production State Producer Type Created using Technique Evidenced by Impression Other data FRBR?

15 The “real” DB structure
Impression data: from Merlin and the V&A Bpi1700 added value: Works and subject index

16 Early Modern London Theatres
Transmission and understanding: “Most of what we know about the early London theatres, which developed before, during and shortly after the life of Shakespeare, has been passed down to us through a complex process of filtration. Documents written at the time have been selected, copied, adapted, and interpreted over subsequent centuries, and that process has shaped our understanding. In turn, what we do with this received information will determine how future generations view the early theatres.” "EMLoT lets you see what direct use has been made, over the last four centuries, of pre-1642 documents related to professional performance in purpose-built theatres and other permanent structures in the London area. [...] It tells you who used them, and when, and where you can find evidence of that use. It also gives you some access to what was used, because it includes a brief account (or ‘abstract’) of the transcription’s contents, together with a reference to the location of the original document.“ (from the EMLoT website)

17 Elements of the EMLoT structure
playhouse context court case playhouse business payment player context [...] Source 2ndary Source Event Type Primary Source Transcription Document Record Event Auspices Troupe Venue Privy Council Office of the Revels Court of Requests Lord Chamberlain’s Office [...] Admiral’s Men Queen’s Men Worchester’s Men King’s Men Oxford’s Boys [...] Globe Theatre Fortune Blackfriars Bel Savage Boar’s Heads [...]

18 Structured Prosopographical projects
PBE: Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire (published on CD) PBW: Prosopography of the Byzantine World PASE: (Prosopography of Anglo-saxon England) CCEd: Clergy of the Church of England: Breaking of Britain PoMS: Paradox of Medieval Scotland: PoNE: People of Northern England Database The Making of Charlemagne’s Europe

19 A “Source Assertion” An assertion made by the project team that a source "S" at reference “R" states something ("F") about a person or persons ("P")

20 Core structure for DDH’s Prosopographical databases
Assertion Type Typed by Person Connected to Authority Lists Assertion Instance of Appears in Connected to Connected to Source Possession Location

21 PASE’s “real” structure
Factoid Types Authority Lists Person Assertion (Factoid) Possesion Place Sources

22 Marriages in PASE

23 Facetted Thinking and structure
Facetted Classification: An approach to organise a body of materials using facetted principles. Facetted Browsing: The exploiting of facets to facilitate the exploration of a body of materials.

24 Facetted Browsing Principles
"Remember the purpose of the classification and the users. Who will use it? Why? Will they search it, browse it, or both? How well do they know the subject? Always remember it is meant for them to use.“ Denton 2003: “How to make a Facet Classification and put it on the Web” referencing Kwasnick, Barbara H The role of classification in knowledge representation and discovery. Library Trends 48 (1):

25 Faceted classification: advantages
"Kwasnick (1999, 40-42) lists several things in favour of faceted classifications: they do not require complete knowledge of the entities or their relationships; they are hospitable (can accommodate new entities easily); they are flexible; they are expressive; they can be ad hoc and free-form; and they allow many different perspectives on and approaches to the things classified.“ Denton 2003.

26 Searching the Clergy of the Church of England database

27 WWW Facetted browsing principles
The user should not be able to form a query that is known to have no results. Users must always know where they are in the classification Users must always be able to refine their query or adjust their navigation to see what is nearby in the classification The URL is the notation of the classification. Denton 2003

28 Facetted Browsing in bpi1700
Facets Selected Works

29 Facets in PASE

30 Facets in Early Modern London Theatres (EMLoT)

31 Facets in Early Modern London Theatres (EMLoT)

32 Facets in Early Modern London Theatres (EMLoT)

33 Faceted classification: problems
"She [Kwasnick 1999] lists three major problems: the difficulty of choosing the right facets; the lack of the ability to express the relationships between them; and the difficulty of visualizing it all.” Denton 2003

34 Metadata Definition: Metadata and Dublin Core
“Metadata is sometimes defined literally as 'data about data,' but the term is normally understood to mean structured data about resources that can be used to help support a wide range of operations.” (UKOLN (2001): “Metadata in a nutshell” ( Metadata and Dublin Core “Perhaps the most well-known metadata initiative is the Dublin Core.” (UKOLN 2001)

35 DC: The fifteen elements
From Weibel, Stuart (2007), Dublin Core Metadata Tutorial. OCLC Research

36 DC (Metadata) base syntax
implied verb one of 15 properties property value (an appropriate literal) DC:Creator DC:Title DC:Subject DC:Date... implied subject Resource has property X qualifiers (adjectives) [optional qualifier] [optional qualifier] From Weibel, Stuart (2007), Dublin Core Metadata Tutorial. OCLC Research

37 Resource has Subject "Languages -- Grammar" Resource has Date
LCSH Resource has Date " " ISO8601 Revised From Weibel, Stuart (2007), Dublin Core Metadata Tutorial. OCLC Research

38 DC.Creator: Alan Kelsey
DC.Creator: Alan Kelsey DC.Subject: Dublin Core Meta Tags DC.Format: text/html DC.Publisher: Alan Kelsey, Ltd. DC.Date: DC.Coverage: Hennepin Technical College DC.Language: EN DC.Rights: Copyright 2011, ...

39 Metadata: a “world view” of structure
Resources Metadata Metadata: two kinds of data: Resource: The object being classified Metadata: The classification data Classification data could be used as facets Does this rather “flat” model suit our purposes?

40 BLISS: BC2 standard facets
"These fundamental thirteen categories have been found to be sufficient for the analysis of vocabulary in almost all areas on knowledge. It is however quite likely that other general categories exist; it is certainly the case that there are some domain specific categories, such as those of form and genre in the field of literature" (pp 79-80). Vanda Broughton (2001): Faceted classification as a basis for knowledge organization in a digital environment; the Bliss Bibliographic Classification as a model for vocabulary management and the creation of multidimensional knowledge structures, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, 7:1, thing/entity kind part property material process operation patient product by-product agent space time Vickery (1959) observed that fundamental categories reflect an Indian worldview that differs from the Western, or Aristotelian notion of basic categories. Aristotle’s fundamental categories: thing, kind, part, property, material, process, operation, agent, patient, product, by-product, space and time represent a ‘standard set’ of useful descriptive categories for science and technical subjects but are often unsuitable for humanities subjects (Vickery, 1959). La Barre “Traditions of facet theory, or a garden of forking paths?”. ISKOUK conference 2011. “BC2 makes an excellent starting point for thinking of how to make a faceted classification. Its facets can be renamed and adapted to suit your particular circumstances.” (Denton 2008)

41 Modelling: elements of the EMLoT structure
playhouse context court case playhouse business payment player context [...] Source 2ndary Source Event Type Primary Source Transcription Document Record Event Auspices Troupe Venue Privy Council Office of the Revels Court of Requests Lord Chamberlain’s Office [...] Admiral’s Men Queen’s Men Worchester’s Men King’s Men Oxford’s Boys [...] Globe Theatre Fortune Blackfriars Bel Savage Boar’s Heads [...]

42 Modelling "In terms of humanities computing, modelling is an iterative process of constructing and developing something like a computational 'knowledge representation' as this is defined in computer science. In fact we might say that a model is a manipulable knowledge representation.” Willard McCarty “Humanities Computing: Essential Problems, Experimental Practice” in Literary and Linguistic Computing Vol 17 No 1. pp

43 Analytical Modelling: the utility of failure
"the digital model illumines analytically by isolating what would not compute. In other words, the failures of analytic modelling are where its success is to be found.” Willard McCarty (2008). “What’s going on?” in Literary and Linguistic Computing, Vol 23 No 3. p. 256

44 Structure as a scholarly outcome, and its public presentation
The tension between that and the need for a public face to the project. Classification: “user focus”: focus on universal structure Modelling Scholarly structure: “scholar focus”: focus on individual scholarly exploration and assertion

45 Where are the facets in a DB structure?

46 Spiteri 1998: CRG Principles: Fundamental Categories
g) Fundamental Categories: "there exist no categories that are fundamental to all subjects, and ... categories should be derived based upon the nature of the subject being classified" (pp 18-19) Spiteri, Louise. (1998). “A Simplified Model for Facet Analysis”. Now online at

47 Spiteri 1998: CRG Principles: Relevance
b) Relevance: "when choosing facets by which to divide entities, it is important to make sure that the facets reflect the purpose, subject, and scope of the classification system" (1998, 6).

48 Spiteri 1998: CRG (Classification Research Group) Principles: Differentiation
a) Differentiation: "when dividing an entity into its component parts, it is important to use characteristics of division (i.e., facets) that will distinguish clearly among these component parts" (Spiteri 1998, 5). For example, dividing humans by sex.

49 Structured data requires clear categories: authority lists
Authority lists provide a classification mechanism CaseType (PoNE) id type 29 agreement 64 appeal of breach of peace 63 appeal of homicide 28 assize of last presentation (darrein presentm 1 assize of mort d'ancestor 45 assize of novel disseisin 14 deforcement 52 grand assize 37 last presentation (darrein presentment) 38 mort d'ancestor 2 novel disseisin 59 plea de namio vetito 47 plea in ecclesiastical court 25 plea of acquittal 7 plea of advowson 18 plea of agreement 27 plea of an extent 42 plea of appeal 62 plea of breach of peace 8 plea of charter-warrant 56 plea of death 5 plea of debt 21 plea of detention 23 plea of disseisin 10 plea of dower 22 plea of ejection 31 plea of false judgment 58 plea of false testimony alGenderKey alGender alGenderAbrv 1 2 (Other) 3 Male M 4 Female F 5 Institution Inst 6 M/F 7 Undefined (Undefined) alOfficeTermKey alOfficeTerm 1 2 (Other) 3 King 4 Secundarius 5 Judge 6 Pincerna 7 Comes 8 Pope 9 Queen 10 Bishop 11 Counsellor 12 Abbess 13 Archbishop 14 Dux 15 Priest 16 Minister 17 Fasellus 18 Princeps 19 Cleric [...]

50 Spiteri 1998: CRG Principles: Ascertainability
c) Ascertainability: "it is important to choose facets that are definite and can be ascertained" (1998, 6).

51 Location Data in CCE: kinds of locations

52 Spiteri 1998: CRG Principles: Homogeneity & Mutual Exclusivity
e) Homogeneity: "facets must be homogeneous" (1998, 18). f) Mutual Exclusivity: facets must be "mutually exclusive," "each facet must represent only one characteristic of division" (1998, 18). “i.e., that the contents any two facets cannot overlap, and that each facet must represent only one characteristic of division.”

53 PASE: Office/Status/Occupation

54 Spiteri 1998: CRG Principles: Permanence
d) Permanence: facets should "represent permanent qualities of the item being divided" (1998, 18).

55 PASE’s event types: an evolving understanding

56 Revised event types (PASE II)
Acts of crime, law-breaking/violence Hostility, Burh-abandonment, Lust, Disobedience, Burning, Insulting ... Legal/governmental/administrative acts and legitimate use of violence Legal/governmental/administrative acts Challenge, Archiepiscopal see: restoration, Property-given/selling ... Legitimate use of violence Imprisonment, Execution, Campaigning, War, Outlawing ... Life-events/social and economic acts and relations Life Events Retirement, Journey, Naming, Betrothal, Marriage, Birth ... Social/economic acts and relations Visit, Promise, Begging, Ship-buiding, Slave-selling, Godparenting ... Power-taking and power-leaving Political Acts Conquest, Agreement, Throne-sitting, Message-sending ... Taking/leaving power Appointment of abbot, royal insignia-entrusting, Coronation, Deposition of bishop, ... Religious/ecclesiastical acts Acts of Christian piety Commemoration of the dead, Martyrdom, Church going, Easter-observance, Confession ... Acts of ecclesiastical authority Baptism, Confraternity, Tonsuring, Liturgical celebration, Ecclesiastical reform, Mission sending ...

57 Conclusions Facetted thinking in our structured projects arises out of an exploratory and somewhat dynamic modelling rather than classification activity. It provides a way for the public to have better access to a data structure that emerges from the project team’s emerging and shifting understanding and interests in their data. It has to fit with a model of data that has a mix of different entity types and no specific entity centre. It has to fit with a model that is subject to change and evolution Although facetted representation of our models is not a perfect fit with their nature, it has allowed for a browsing view of the data that enables the public to engage much better with the complexities of these project’s materials.


59 DC.Creator: Alan Kelsey
DC.Subject: Dublin Core Meta Tags DC.Format: text/html DC.Publisher: Alan Kelsey, Ltd. DC.Date: DC.Coverage: Hennepin Technical College DC.Language: EN DC.Rights: Copyright 2011, ...

60 Why facets here? Complex structure? Sparse data Public interface
CCE query example

Download ppt "Facets and structured research data in the Digital Humanities"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google