Analyzing biography collections historiographically as Linked Data: Case National Biography of Finland
15 December 2022
Biographical collections are available on the Web for close reading. However, the underlying texts can also be used for data analysis and distant reading, if the documents are available as data. Such data is usable for creating intelligent user interfaces to biographical data, including Digital Humanities tooling for visualizations, data analysis, and knowledge discovery in biographical and prosopographical research. In this paper, we re-use biographical collection data from a historiographical perspective for analyzing the underlying collection. For example: What kind of people have been included in the collection? Does the language used for describing female biographees differ from that for men? As a case study, the Finnish National Biography, available as part of the Linked Open Data service and semantic portal BiographySampo – Finnish Biographies on the Semantic Web is used. The analyses show interesting results related to, e.g., how specific prosopographical groups, such as women or professional groups are represented and portrayed. Various novel statistics and network analyses of the biographees are presented. Our analyses give new insights to the editors of the National Biography as well as to researchers in biography, prosopography, and historiography. The presented approach can be applied also to similar biography collections in other countries.
Vol. 14, No. 2
Linked Data; data analysis; network analysis; Cultural Heritage; Digital Humanities