APIS - Mapping historical networks

Building the new Austrian Prosopographical/Biographical Information System

Objectives and research questions

The Austrian Biographical Encyclopaedia (Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon, ÖBL) is the only work of reference covering courses of life and career of important historical figures of the entire area of both the former Habsburg Monarchy and the First and Second Republics of Austria.

On the basis of so far about 18 000 published und digitally available ÖBL biographies, within the framework of APIS a digital environment (database) is created which will allow for new modes of access to these biographical data in order to conduct empirical research in the context of a range of SSH disciplines (social sciences and humanities). Thereby it will be possible to take up innovative and interdisciplinary research questions.

The combination of cutting-edge methodologies and the collaboration of three institutes of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) – INZ, ACDH and ISR – and further external partners allow for a range of new scientific approaches. Making use of modern semantic and text-technology approaches, the project creates a unique bridge between humanities studies and social sciences. The project is designed as a prototypical and future-oriented endeavour that realizes interdisciplinarity by means of a selected “workpiece” which in this case is the ÖBL.

The main objective for the ISR thereby consists in the exemplary treatment of concrete socio-scientific research questions: By Peter A. Rumpolt's dissertation project a comprehensive socio-demographic analysis on spatial mobility of persons portrayed in the ÖBL is developed, including reconstructing the migration paths and patterns of these important figures (people of outstanding merit) in Austria(-Hungary) in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, with particular regard to the political upheavals within this period (regarding the thematic focus and methods see here (in German)).

On the part of the ISR furthermore an investigation on not clearly locatable place names is conducted in different cartographic sources.



Detailed information on the conference „Biographien, Netzwerke und Mobilität. Vom 19. Jahrhundert bis in die digitale Gegenwart“ („Biographies, networks and mobility. From the 19th century to the digital present“, 17–18 October 2019 at the OeAW in Vienna) are available online on an own conference website (in German).