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Session Overview
#SK2: Space and Place Paper Session 3
Friday, 26/Jul/2019:
1:40pm - 2:40pm

Session Chair: Ruth M. Mostern
Location: Marquis B, Marriott City Center
capacity 42

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Linking Pasts with Place Names and Gazetteers

Ruth M. Mostern1, Karl Grossner1, Ryan Matthew Horne1, Tom Elliot2, Ethan Gruber3

1University of Pittsburgh, United States of America; 2ISAW, New York University;

This roundtable introduces four interrelated topics in the spatial humanities: 1) how to find, model and use historical place names - the not GIS-ready data form in which spatial information generally appears in unstructured text and maps; 2) gazetteer databases as resources for formalizing information about places, including names, relationships, and attributes; 3) the impact that linked open data methodologies are having in terms of connecting disparate specialist gazetteers and other resources replete with place name data; and 4) the World-Historical Gazetteer (WHG) initiative as an instantiation of these concepts.

Panelists will include members of the WHG team and representatives of related projects including Pelagios and PeriodO. A WHG advisory committee meeting is taking place just prior to the ACH meeting, bringing many specialists in this domain to Pittsburgh in July. The roundtable is intended to explore ontological, epistemological, and infrastructural questions, and should therefore appeal to people with either humanistic or technical orientations.

For instance, we will discuss how our linked gazetteer systems support research focused on cross-regional exchanges, connections, and comparisons by allowing users to contribute not only place data, but "trace" data – annotations of data records about historical entities of any kind with identifiers for places associated with them. Trace entities fall within broad categories of events, people, works, and artifacts. We will also briefly introduce two new data formats developed in collaboration with the Pelagios team and others: Linked Places format and Linked Traces annotation format. These developments are situated in the broader context of an emerging Linked Pasts initiative aimed at connecting not only places but all manner of historical data.

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