CfP: Preconference workshop "Ontology based annotation" (July 17th 2012 @ DH2012 in Hamburg, Germany)

2 Apr 2012 - 00:00

The Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities (NeDiMAH) ,, is a research network running from 2011 to 2015, funded by the European Science Foundation, ESF. The network will examine the practice of, and evidence for, advanced ICT methods in the arts and humanities across Europe, and disseminate findings in a series of outputs and publications.

The NeDiMAH WG3, Linked data and ontological methods, will organise a half day preconference workshop “Ontology based annotation” in connection with the conference Digital Humanities 2012 in Hamburg.
Workshop format:  Short presentations 15 – 20 minutes including discussion.

Deadline  for submission: April 30th.  We will endeavour to decide on the final workshop programme by May 15th.
Submission format:  Extended abstract, ca 1000 – 1500 words

Contact address: c.e.s.ore[at]

Presenters of accepted papers will have their workshop fees covered. Successful contributors will also be considered for having their travel and accommodation expenses covered by NeDiMAH. The full papers should be circulated before the workshop.

Motivation and background

The use of computers as tools in the study of textual material in the humanities and cultural heritage goes back to the late 1940s, with links back to similar methods used without computer assistance, such as word counting in the late nineteenth century and concordances from the fourteenth century onwards. In the sixty years of computer assisted text research, two traditions can be seen. One is that which includes corpus linguistics and the creation of digital scholarly editions, while the other strain is related to museum and archival texts. In the former tradition, texts are commonly seen as first class feasible objects of study, which can be examined by the reader using aesthetic, linguistic or similar methods. In the latter tradition, texts are seen mainly as a source for information; readings concentrate on the content of the texts, not the form of their writing.  Typical examples are museum catalogues and historical source documents.

In the end of the 1980s the historian Manfred Thaller developed Kleio, a simple ontological annotation system for historical texts. Later in the 1990s hypertext with inline links, not databases, became the tool of choice for textual editions (Vanhoutte 2010).  In the last decade the stand-off database approach has been reintroduced, this time in the form of ontologies (conceptual models) often expressed in the RDF formalism to enable its use in the linked data world, and the semantic web.

A basic assumption is that reading a text includes a process of creating a model in the mind of the reader. Reading a novel and reading a historical source document both result in models. These models will be different, but they can all be manifested as explicit ontologies expressed in computer formats. The external model stored in the computer system will be a different model from the one stored in the mind, but it will still be a model of the text reading. By manipulating the computer based model new things can be learned about the text in question, or it can be compared to other similarly-treated texts.

An objective of the workshop is to throw light on  consequences and experiences of the renewed database approach in computer assisted textual work, based on the development in text encoding over the last decade as well as in ontological systems.

Short discussion papers are invited on any topic that looks at the theory or practice of ontology-based annotation, including (but not limited to):

•       How do we create models, and what ontologies should we use?

•       To what extent can new insight be gained by linking together the models based on information from the texts?

•       How do we relate models back to the source text?

•       Can we manage an ontology-based annotation of a text in different editions and translations?

•       How do we model uncertainty in annotation, and multiple annotations?

•       Can ontology based annotation be combined with crowdsourcing, and does this ask for special types of crowds?

Programme Committee

Øyvind Eide, King's College, London  UK
Faith Lawrence, King's College, London  UK
Sebastian Rahtz, University of Oxford UK
Christian-Emil Ore, University of Oslo Norway
Alois Pichler, University of Bergen, Norway