Monday, 06. July 2020, 10:00 - Friday, 10. July 2020, 15:00

Summer School: “People in the Digital Age” (Digital Prosopography)

The summer school introduces humanists of any disciplinary affiliation with basic computer literacy in digital tools, and how to create and analyse prosopographical data.

Prosopography aggregates information conveyed by historical sources on people. It is a field of research that is crucial to many humanities disciplines, as people are a core category of all humanities research. Digital methods have a long tradition in prosopography. These methods have not yet become part of everyday humanists work, although they offer a rich set of new insights. This type of work can be applied in literature studies, art history, historical research of many time periods. Even sociology and political science are interested in prosopography.

The summer school will introduce humanists of any disciplinary affiliation with basic computer literacy in digital tools, and how to create and analyse prosopographical data. This will include:

  • Basic data models like the Factoid model (Bradley/Short 2005)
  • Markup schemes for persons and references to persons (TEI)
  • Introduction to ontologies/vocabularies (CIDOC CRM, BIO, Lightweight biographical data model)
  • Data analysis, in particular social network analysis (Gephi)
  • Basic data handling (data modelling, introduction to SQL and SPARQL, database management systems like sqlite, Neo4j, mongoDB)
  • Data formats (CSV, XML, JSON, RDF)
  • Introduction to tools such as Pelagios/Recogito
  • The main reference resources (like, snap:drgn)
  • Major prosopographical databases (e.g. APIS, Deutsche Biographie, Repertorium Academicum Germanicum, Roman Republic Prosopography etc.)
  • Information extraction of biographical information (named-entity recognition)
  • Data visualisation for prosopographies

The participants will learn hands on from renowned experts in the field. Lectures will include introductions to the subject, practical exercises and support in how to apply the theoretical knowledgte to data brought by the participants. The school is primarily directed to young academics working on a thesis, although more advanced scholars starting a research project using prosopographical methods are welcome. Participants will have the opportunity to present their research project in a short talk and/or a poster.

Interested people should sent a CV (max. 1 page) and a brief description of their prosopographical project (max. 500 words) to digital.prosopography(at), which will help us to decide on eligibility. Places on the summer school will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. The participation at the summer school is free of charge.

The school is organised in close collaboration with other ÖAW institutions:

  • IHB (Arbeitsbereich Edition, Prof. Arno Strohmeyer)
  • IMAFO (PD Dr. Andreas Zajic, Dr Johannes Preiser-Kappeller)
  • ÖBL (Dr. Christine Gruber)


Preliminary schedule

(Please note: We are monitoring the developments regarding COVID-19 in particular travel bans and bans of scientific events. At the current stage of developments we do not have enough information to decide, in which form the event (remote, in-situ, mixed) will take place. But be sure: it will take place anyway - so do not hesitate to apply! We will update this site and contact you directly, if you have applied.)



  • Morning: Opening, General introduction into prosopographical resources, workflows, research design, and the factoid model
  • Afternoon: Data capture (scholarly editions, OCR, RegEx)
  • Evening: Public Lecture by Charles van den Heuvel (Huygens Institute, Amsterdam):
    To be or not to be - Identifying names, persons and groups in unstructured data of the Dutch Golden Age


  • Morning: Data Modelling (TEI, Entity Relationship, CIDOC-CRM, International Prosopographical Interchange Format; RDF,, wikidata; OntoME)
  • Afternoon: Data Modelling continued
  • Your own database: (FactGrid, Blazegraph, MySQL, WikiBase, MongoDB, Nodegoat)


  • Morning: Data modelling III: Linked Open Data, Reference resources (Getty, Hisco, Viaf, SKOS; Automatic Named Entity Recognition and Named Entity Linking
  • Afternoon: Poster session
  • Evening: social activity (e.g. Heuriger, excursion, guided tour)


  • Morning: Data Query (SQL, SPARQL, XPath)
  • Afternoon: Analysis (Network analysis, basic statistics)


  • Morning: Visualisations (plotting, Maps, GIS)

The updated program and further details are available to participants at


Gioele Barabucci (Trondheim/Köln)
Francesco Beretta (Lyon)
Charles van den Heuvel (Amsterdam)
Richard Hadden (Vienna)
Rebecca Kahn (Vienna)
Stephan Kurz (Vienna)
Sabine Laszakovits (Vienna)
Eva Mayer (Krems)
Michele Pasin (London)
Renato Souza Rocha (Vienna)
Matthias Schlögl (Vienna)
Rainer Simon (Vienna)
Marcella Tambuscio (Vienna)
Gunter Vasold (Graz)
Georg Vogeler (Graz/Vienna)
Florian Windhager (Krems)