Expressing complex associations in medieval historical documents: The Henry III Fine Rolls Project

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15 Citations (Scopus)


This article focuses on the use of technologies traditionally associated with knowledge representation to express complex associations between entities in historical texts that have been marked up in XML, according to the Text Encoding Initiative guidelines. In particular, we describe our exploration of the potential role of an ontology in facilitating the interpretation of implicit and hidden associations in the sources of interest, examining its use, and limits in a digital humanities project in connection with editing tools and delivery issues. We demonstrate our findings based on the Henry III Fine Rolls project, where an ontology—built using the RDF (Resource Description Framework)/OWL (Web Ontology Language) technologies—is being developed to make explicit informa- tion about person, place, and subject entities marked up as instances in the core texts themselves. For any historian, there is a natural tension between primary sources (as documentary records) and the analysis that produces a context for interpretation. We will argue that the combination of core mark-up (encoded in TEI) and an ontology (in RDF/OWL) provides a powerful model for representing the complexity of this tension and facilitates the necessarily dynamic process of scholarly interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalLiterary and Linguistic Computing: the journal of digital scholarship in the humanities
Issue number3
Early online date12 Sept 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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