Challenge-derived design principles for a semantic gazetteer for medieval and early modern places

Tracking #: 2219-3432

Philipp Schneider
Jim Jones
Torsten Hiltmann
Tomi Kauppinen

Responsible editor: 
Christoph Schlieder

Submission type: 
Survey Article
In recent years gazetteers based on semantic web technologies were discussed as an effective way to describe, formalize and standardize place data by using contextual information as a method to structure and distinguish places from each other. While research concerning semantic gazetteers with regard to historical places has pointed out the importance of enabling the creation of a global and epoch-spanning gazetteer, we want to emphasize the importance of taking a domain oriented approach as well -- in our case, focusing on places set in medieval and early modern times. By discussing the topic from the historians’ perspective, we will be able to identify a number of challenges that are specific to the semantic representation of places set in these time periods. We will then do a survey of existing gazetteer projects that are taking historical places into account. This will enable us to find out which technologies and practices already exist, that can meet the demands of a gazetteer that considers the time specific geographic, social and administrative structures of medieval and early modern times. Finally we will develop a catalogue of design practices for such a semantic gazetteer. Our recommendations will be derived from these existing solutions as well as from our epoch-specific challenges identified before.
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Minor Revision

Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
By Muriel van Ruymbeke submitted on 02/Sep/2019
Minor Revision
Review Comment:

This manuscript was submitted as 'Survey Article' and should be reviewed along the following dimensions: (1) Suitability as introductory text, targeted at researchers, PhD students, or practitioners, to get started on the covered topic. (2) How comprehensive and how balanced is the presentation and coverage. (3) Readability and clarity of the presentation. (4) Importance of the covered material to the broader Semantic Web community.

Review Comment:
As already written, this paper is suitable as introductory text, targeted at researchers, PhD students, or practitioners, to get started on the covered topic. Moreover, it is an interesting approach. Most of weak points have been ameliorated by authors, but a few of them still need to be tackled (see below).
In general, the presentation and coverage are comprehensive and well balanced, with (still) some points to improve:
1)Typo problem (a new one !) in section 4.6 (p.18)

The presentation is now totally readable and clear.

The covered material could be of interest for the broader Semantic Web community. Indeed, the paper depicts the problem encountered to deal with uncertain, incomplete, fuzzy and contradictory information. Solving the described difficulties could help to enrich the semantic aspect of data in Semantic Web in general.

Specific questions or requests to Authors:
2)Introduction, part 3: the clarification given to reviewer 1, relative to technical level, and using 3 dimensions to distinguish places from other ones introduces a new confusion: It is difficult to understand the difference between the “meaning” and the construction of the same meaning by “human experience”. Even if the paragraph has been rewritten, the clarification is not yet evident. Maybe adding an example would be useful?

3)Section 5.3: last sentence: “… a new model has yet to be developed…” my question: from scratch? or as an extension of existing model. In this case witch one? Even if the paragraph has been “clarified”, the requested precisions are not given.

4)Section 3.5 note 10: this reference could be of interest: G.-A. NYS, M. VAN RUYMBEKE, R. BILLEN, « Spatio-temporal reasoning in CIDOC CRM: an hybrid ontology with GeoSPARQL and OWL-Time », CEUR Workshop Proc., 2230, 2018.

Review #2
By Carsten Keßler submitted on 08/Sep/2019
Review Comment:

My previous comments been addressed, I think this will make for a good survey acting e.g. as an intro text to the challenges and design practices for historical gazetteers. There are still some typos in the paper, but I’m sure SWJ copy editing will take care of them.