Digital Humanities on the Semantic Web: Accessing Historical and Musical Linked Data

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Abstract

Key fields in the humanities, such as history, art and language, are central to a major transformation that is changing scholarly practice in these fields: the so-called Digital Humanities (DH). A fundamental question in DH is how humanities datasets can be represented digitally, in such a way that machines can process them, understand their meaning, facilitate their inquiry, and exchange them on the Web. In this paper, we survey current efforts within the Semantic Web and Linked Data, a family of Webcompatible knowledge representation formalisms and standards, to represent DH objects in quantitative history and symbolic music. We also argue that the technological gap between the Semantic Web and Linked Data, and DH data owners is currently too wide for effective access and consumption of these semantically enabled humanities data. To this end, we propose grlc, a thin middleware that leverages currently existing queries on the Web (expressed in, e.g., SPARQL) to transparently build standard Web APIs that facilitate access to any Linked Data.

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