Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
T-P674-1: Place
Thursday, 08/Mar/2018:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Christian-Emil Smith Ore
Location: P674

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11:00am - 11:30am
Long Paper (20+10min) [publication ready]

SDHK meets NER: Linking place names with medieval charters and historical maps

Olof Karsvall2, Lars Borin1

1University of Gothenburg,; 2Swedish National Archives

Mass digitization of historical text sources opens new avenues for research in the humanities and social sciences, but also presents a host of new methodological challenges. Historical text collections become more accessible, but new research tools must also be put in place in order to fully exploit the new research possibilities emerging from having access to vast document collections in digital format. This paper highlights some of the conditions to consider when place names in an older source material, in this case medieval charters, are to be matched to geographical data. The Swedish National Archives make some 43,000 medieval letters available in digital form through an online search facility. The volume of the material is such that manual markup of names will not be feasible. In this paper, we present the material, discuss the promises for research of linking, e.g., place names to other digital databases, and report on an experiment where an off-the-shelf named-entity recognition system for modern Swedish is applied to this material.

Karsvall-SDHK meets NER-167_a.pdf

11:30am - 11:45am
Distinguished Short Paper (10+5min) [publication ready]

On Modelling a Typology of Geographic Places for the Collaborative Open Data Platform histHub

Manuela Weibel, Tobias Roth

Schweizerisches Idiotikon

HistHub will be a platform for Historical Sciences providing authority records for interlinking and referencing basic entities such as persons, organisations, concepts and geographic places within an ontological framework. For the case of geographic places, a draft of a place typology is presented here. Such a typology will be needed for semantic modelling in an ontology. We propose a hierarchical two-step model of geographic place types: a more generic type remaining stable over time that will ultimately be incorporated into the ontology as the essence of the identity of a place, and a more specific type closer to the nature of the place the way it is actually perceived by humans.

Our second approach on our way to a place typology is decidedly bottom-up. We try to standardise the place types in our database of heterogeneous top-onymic data using the place types already present as well as textual descriptions and name matches with typed external data sources. The types used in this standardisation process are basic conceptual units that are most likely to play a role in any place typology yet to be established. Standardisation at this early stage leads to comprehensive and deep knowledge of our data which helps us developing a good place typology.

Weibel-On Modelling a Typology of Geographic Places for the Collaborative Open Data Platform histHub-138_a.pdf
Weibel-On Modelling a Typology of Geographic Places for the Collaborative Open Data Platform histHub-138_c.pdf

11:45am - 12:00pm
Distinguished Short Paper (10+5min) [publication ready]

Geocoding, Publishing, and Using Historical Places and Old Maps in Linked Data Applications

Esko Ikkala1, Eero Hyvönen1,2, Jouni Tuominen1,2

1Aalto University, Semantic Computing Research Group (SeCo); 2University of Helsinki, HELDIG – Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities

This paper presents a Linked Open Data brokering service prototype for

using and maintaining historical place gazetteers and maps based on distributed SPARQL endpoints. The service introduces several novelties: First, the service facilitates collaborative maintenance of geo-ontologies and maps in real time as a side effect of annotating contents in legacy cataloging systems. The idea is to support a collaborative ecosystem of curators that creates and maintains data about historical places and maps in a sustainable way. Second, in order to foster understanding of historical places, the places can be provided on both modern and historical maps, and with additional contextual Linked Data attached. Third, since data about historical places is typically maintained by different authorities and in different countries, the service can be used and extended in a federated fashion, by including new distributed SPARQL endpoints (or other web services with a suitable API) into the system.

Ikkala-Geocoding, Publishing, and Using Historical Places and Old Maps-215_a.pdf
Ikkala-Geocoding, Publishing, and Using Historical Places and Old Maps-215_c.pdf

12:00pm - 12:15pm
Short Paper (10+5min) [abstract]

Using ArcGIS Online and Story Maps to visualise spatial history: The case of Vyborg

Antti Härkönen

University of Eastern Finland

Historical GIS (HGIS) or spatially oriented history is a field that uses geoinformatics to look at historical phenomena from a spatial perspective. GIS tools are used to visualize, manage and analyze geographical data. However, the use of GIS tools requires some technical expertise and ready-made historical spatial data is almost non-existent, which significantly reduces the reach of HGIS. New tools should make spatially oriented history more accessible.

Esri’s ArcGIS Online (AGOL) allows making internet visualization of maps and map layers created with Esri’s more traditional GIS desktop program ArcMap. In addition, Story Map tool allows the creation of more visually pleasing presentations using maps, text and multimedia resources. I will demonstrate the use of Story Maps to represent spatial change in the case of the city of Vyborg.

The city of Vyborg lies in Russia near the Finnish border. A small town grew near the castle founded by Swedes in 1293. Vyborg was granted town privileges in 1403, and later in the 15th century, it became one of the very few walled towns in Kingdom of Sweden. The town was located on a hilly peninsula near the castle. Until 17th century the town space was ‘medieval’ i.e. irregular. The town was regulated to conform to a rectangular street layout in 1640s. I show the similarities between old and new town plans by superimposing them on a map.

The Swedish period ended when the Russians conquered Vyborg in 1710. Vyborg became a provincial garrison town and administrative center. Later, when Russia conquered rest of Finland in 1809, the province of Vyborg (aka ‘Old Finland’) was added to the Autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, a part of the Russian empire. During 19th century Vyborg became increasingly important trade and industrial center, and the population grew rapidly. I map expanding urban areas using old town plans and population statistics.

Another perspective to the changing town space is the growth of fortifications around Vyborg. As the range of artillery grew, the fortifications were pushed further and further outside the original town. I use story maps to show the position of fortifications of different eras by placing them in the context of terrain. I also employ viewshed analyses to show how the fortifications dominate the terrain around them.

Härkönen-Using ArcGIS Online and Story Maps to visualise spatial history-136_a.pdf

12:15pm - 12:30pm
Short Paper (10+5min) [abstract]


Kimmo Elo1, Virpi Kivioja2

1University of Helsinki; 2University of Turku

This paper is based on an ongoing PhD project entitled “An international triangle drama?”, which studies the depictions of West Germany and East Germany in Finnish, and depictions of Finland in West German and East German geography textbooks in the Cold War era. The primary source material consists of Finnish, West German, and East German geography textbooks that were published between 1946 and 1999.

Contrary to traditional methods of close reading thus far applied in school book analysis, this paper presents an exploratory approach based computational analysis of a large book corpus. The corpus consists of school books in geography used in the Federal Republic of Germany between 1946 and 1999, and in the German Democratic Republic between 1946 and 1990. The corpus has been created by digitising all books by applying OCR technologies on the scanned page images. The corpus has also been post-processed by correcting OCR errors and by adding metadata.

The main aim of the paper is to extract and analyse conceptual geocollocations. Such an analysis focuses on how concepts are embedded geospatially on the one hand, how geographical entities (cities, regions, etc.) are conceptually embedded, on the other. Regarding the former, the main aim is to examine and explain the geospatial distribution of terms and concepts. Regarding the latter, the main focus is on the analysis of concept collocations surrounding geographical entities.

The analysis presented in the paper consists of four steps. First, standard methods of text mining are used in order to identify geographical concepts (names of different regions, cities etc.). Second, concepts and terms in the close neighborhood of geographical terms are tagged with geocodes. Third, network analysis is applied to create concept networks around geographical entities. And fourth, both the geotagged and network data are enriched by adding bibliographical metadata allowing comparisons over time and between countries.

The paper adopts several methods to visualise analytical results. Geospatial plots are used to visualise geographical distribution of concept and its changes over time. Network graphs are used to visualise collocation structures and their dynamics. An important functions of the graphs, however, is to exemplify how graphical visualisations can be used to visualise historical knowledge and how graphical visualisations can help us to tackle change and continuity from a comparative perspective.

Concerning historical research from a more general perspective, one of the main objectives of this paper is to exemplify and discuss how computational methods could be applied to tackle research questions typical for social sciences and historical research. The paper is motivated by the big challenge to move away from computational history guided and limited by tools and methods of computational sciences toward an understanding that computational history requires computational tools developed to find answers to questions typical and crucial for historical research. All tools, data and methods developed during this research project will later be made available for scholars interested in similar topics, thus helping the to gain advantage of this project.


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