Knowledge Representation

Data is not a given in the humanities. It takes considerable scholarly effort to represent in a formalised way how humans act, think and communicate. We study these representations and the scholarly procedures that generate them in different ways, such as:

  1. modelling of knowledge in humanities research, in particular in the humanities knowledge graph,
  2. data capture from textual sources, in particular via information extraction from historical text corpora, 
  3. the representation of knowledge about people (digital prosopography),
  4. and critically reflecting on methods in digital humanities research

Our research covers a wide range of humanities domains: We are engaged in archaeological projects like Ariadne+, where aggregation of data from European partners is only possible after archaeological knowledge is formalised in an ontology. The anthropological constant “Food” is researched in the ChIA project, which aims to enhance access to and analysis of cultural data by testing semantic tools and Artificial Intelligence (AI) on food images derived from Europeana. We foster diachronic analysis of language as an expression of human culture, e.g. with the Austrian Baroque Corpus and the digitized Wiener Zeitung/Wien[n]erisches Diarium, which covers over 300 issues of the 18th century newspaper, the oldest daily news journal still published, and forms a rich database for linguistic and cultural history research. We are heavily involved in the preparation of Viennese iterations of the Europe-wide project Time Machine.

We contribute to research infrastructures to integrate the humanities knowledge graph, e.g. the “Omnipot”, in which the ACDH aggregates structured information from different projects (Arthur Schnitzler’s diary and correspondences, PMB/APIS, ARCHE etc.) in a common RDF graph database via a mapping of the data structures to standardised ontologies such as CIDOC-CRM. In the field of digital prosopography we work on enhancing the interchange of prosopographical data in an International Prosopographical Interchange Format (IPIF,, on digital methods to create prosopographies of “less famous people” (e.g. from the medieval charter collections in or modern newspapers), and on modelling dynamic features of collective biographies. As an activity in the exploration space movement, we reflect on the impact of digital methods in current life in the AI+ (Algorithm Inventarium) project or ProvideDH, and in concluded projects like exploreAT!.

We advance digital methods in their application to humanities research questions and are open for any kind of collaboration.