IFLA Newspaper Section Meeting: Start Spreading the News

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Feb 4-5, 2014

Towards Content-Rich Digital Genealogy with Model-Oriented Approaches: Issues and Standards

Robert B. Allen

Research Center for Knowledge Communities

University of Tsukuba

Tsukuba, Japan

There is a vast and rapidly expanding amount of historical material available digitally.   To better support users of this material we need to develop better ways of structuring it, inter-connecting it, and of using it to provide new services.  We have proposed a model-oriented approach for semantic description.  For example, for history and genealogy, we propose the development of community models.  Genealogists may want to know more than just vital statistics about their ancestors; they may want to understand what they were like and the context in which they lived.  Community models would weave together the entities (e.g., people, organizations, and locations) together with behaviors such as predictable processes (e.g., traditions, activities) and less predictable events (e.g., storms, accident).  Many approaches are possible and the complexity of the communities raises a wide range of representational opportunities and issues. In one project, we have explored models based on linguistic frames.  In other work, we attempted to develop typologies of complex entities and processes based on partonomies.  Ultimately, we believe that robust descriptive standards can be coupled with techniques for electronically processing and then coordinating a wide variety of historical materials such as records, diaries, and newspapers.