A Polyvocal and Contextualised Semantic Web

[This post is the text of a 1-minute pitch at the IWDS symposium for our poster “A Polyvocal and Contextualised Semantic Web” which was published as the paper”Erp, Marieke van, and Victor de Boer. “A Polyvocal and Contextualised Semantic Web.” European Semantic Web Conference. Springer, Cham, 2021.”]

Knowledge graphs are a popular way of representing and sharing data, information and knowledge in many domains on the Semantic Web. These knowledge graphs however often represent singular -biased- views on the word, this can lead to unwanted bias in AI using this data. We therefore identify a need a more polyvocal Semantic Web.

So. How do we get there?

  1. We need perspective-aware methods for identifying existing polyvocality in datasets and for acquiring it from text or users.
  2. We need datamodels and patterns to represent polyvocal data information and knowledge.
  3. We need visualisations and tools to make the polyvocal knowledge accessible and usable for a wide variety of users, including domain experts or laypersons with varying backgrounds.

In the Cultural AI Lab, we investigate these challenges in several interrelated research projects, but we cannot do it, and should not do it alone and are looking for more voices to join us!

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Digital Humanities in Practice 2018/2019

Last friday, the students of the class of 2018/2019 of the course Digital Humanities and Social Analytics in Practice presented the results of their capstone internship project. This course and project is the final element of the Digital Humanities and Social Analytics minor programme in which students from very different backgrounds gain skills and knowledge about the interdisciplinary topic.

Poster presentation of the DHiP projects

The course took the form of a 4-week internship at an organization working with humanities or social science data and challenges and student groups were asked to use these skills and knowledge to address a research challenge. Projects ranged from cleaning, indexing, visualizing and analyzing humanities data sets to searching for bias in news coverage of political topics. The students showed their competences not only in their research work but also in communicating this research through great posters.

The complete list of student projects and collaborating institutions is below:

  • “An eventful 80 years’ war” at Rijksmuseum identifying and mapping historical events from various sources.
  • An investigation into the use of structured vocabularies also at the Rijksmuseum
  • “Collecting and Modelling Event WW2 from Wikipedia and Wikidata” in collaboration with Netwerk Oorlogsbronnen (see poster image below)
  • A project where an search index for Development documents governed by the NICC foundation was built.
  • “EviDENce: Ego Documents Events modelliNg – how individuals recall mass violence” – in collaboration with KNAW Humanities Cluster (HUC)
  • “Historical Ecology” – where students searched for mentions of animals in historical newspapers – also with KNAW-HUC
  • Project MIGRANT: Mobilities and connection project in collaboration with KNAW-HUC and Huygens ING
  • Capturing Bias with media data analysis – an internal project at VU looking at indentifying media bias
  • Locating the CTA Archive Amsterdam where a geolocation service and search tool was built
  • Linking Knowledge Graphs of Symbolic Music with the Web – also an internal project at VU working with Albert Merono
One of the posters visualizing the events and persons related to the occupation of the Netherlands in WW2
Update: The student posters are now online at https://github.com/biktorrr/dhip2019posters

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ICT Open 2016

Below you find some impressions from ICT.Open 2016. At this very nice event members from the Web and Media group and VU master students presented their ICT research.

The images show me presenting the Observe project’s achievements so far. Oana Inel presenting the DIVE demo, Anca and Oana accepting the SIKS poster award, Gossa Lo presenting Kasadaka to demo jury members, three Web and Media posters and a nice presenation from Google on AlphaGo.

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Verrijkt Koninkrijk at the Soeterbeeck E-humanities workshop

The Soeterbeeck monastery with two e-humanistsLast week, I presented our work on the Verrijkt Koninkrijk project at the E-humanities workshop in the Soeterbeeck monastery which was organised by the university of Nijmegen and the e-humanities group of KNAW.

It was a very pleasant get-together with some nice talks and hands on sessions. Alice Dijkstra from NWO  presented a number of opportunities for getting funding for e-humanities projects. She mentioned some obvious candidates (vernieuwingsimpuls,…) and some less obvious ones (the hopefully upcoming CLARIAH programme, which would continue CLARIN and DARIAH).

The two hands on sessions were nice but showed that there is a more general issue with e-humanities that ‘nice tools’ are being developed but that these tools remain solutions to a single problem. Next to that they are either nice from a computer science or from a historical science viewpoint but it is hard to do exciting comp.science and historical science at the same time. This is reenforced by the issue that historical scientists rarely know what type of tools they want at the beginning of a project. A more interactive and cyclical approach makes sense for both parties. The BiographyNet idea of putting the researchers from different backgrounds in the same room would be one solution. The other in my view is the development of more general-purpose query environments .

In my poster presentation I showed how I tried to do that with Verrijkt Koninkrijk and I think for a more or less generic data analysis interface is also a good idea.

You can download the VK poster Abstract as well as the actual Poster.

Links to some of the web-demo’s we tried:

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