OEDUc: recommendations for EDH person-records in SNAP RDF

July 3rd, 2017 by Gabriel Bodard

At the first meeting of the Open Epigraphic Data Unconference (OEDUc) in London in May 2017, one of the working groups that met in the afternoon (and claim to have completed our brief, so do not propose to meet again) examined the person-data offered for download on the EDH open data repository, and made some recommendations for making this data more compatible with the SNAP:DRGN guidelines.

Currently, the RDF of a person-record in the EDH data (in TTL format) looks like:

<http://edh-www.adw.uni-heidelberg.de/edh/person/HD000001/1>
    a lawd:Person ;
    lawd:PersonalName "Nonia Optata"@lat ;
    gndo:gender <http://d-nb.info/standards/vocab/gnd/gender#female> ;
    nmo:hasStartDate "0071" ;
    nmo:hasEndDate "0130" ;
    snap:associatedPlace <http://edh-www.adw.uni-heidelberg.de/edh/geographie/11843> ,
        <http://pleiades.stoa.org/places/432808#this> ;
    lawd:hasAttestation <http://edh-www.adw.uni-heidelberg.de/edh/inschrift/HD000001> .

We identified a few problems with this data structure, and made recommendations as follows.

  1. We propose that EDH split the current person references in edh_people.ttl into: (a) one lawd:Person, which has the properties for name, gender, status, membership, and hasAttestation, and (b) one lawd:PersonAttestation, which has properties dct:Source (which points to the URI for the inscription itself) and lawd:Citation. Date and location etc. can then be derived from the inscription (which is where they belong).
  2. A few observations:
    1. Lawd:PersonalName is a class, not a property. The recommended property for a personal name as a string is foaf:name
    2. the language tag for Latin should be @la (not lat)
    3. there are currently thousands of empty strings tagged as Greek
    4. Nomisma date properties cannot be used on person, because the definition is inappropriate (and unclear)
    5. As documented, Nomisma date properties refer only to numismatic dates, not epigraphic (I would request a modification to their documentation for this)
    6. the D-N.B ontology for gender is inadequate (which is partly why SNAP has avoided tagging gender so far); a better ontology may be found, but I would suggest plain text values for now
    7. to the person record, above, we could then add dct:identifier with the PIR number (and compare discussion of plans for disambiguation of PIR persons in another working group)

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