Semantic national biography of Finland

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


Research units

  • Semantic Computing Research Group (SeCo)
  • HELDIG - Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities
  • University of Helsinki
  • Finnish Literature Society


This paper presents the vision of publishing and utilizing textual biographies as Linked (Open) Data on the Semantic Web. As a case study, we publish the live stories of the National Biography of Finland, created by the Finnish Literature Society, as semantic, i.e., machine "understandable" metadata in a SPARQL endpoint using the Linked Data Finland ( service. On top of the data service various Digital Humanities applications are built. The applications include searching and studying individual personal histories as well as historical research of groups of persons using methods of prosopography. The biographical data is enriched by extracting events from unstructured and semi-structured texts, and by linking entities internally and to external data sources. A faceted semantic search engine is provided for filtering groups of people from the data for prosopographical research. An extension of the event-based CIDOC CRM ontology is used as the underlying data model, where lives are seen as chains of interlinked events populated from the data of the biographies and additional data sources, such as museum collections, library databases, and archives.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-385
Number of pages14
JournalCEUR Workshop Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventDigital Humanities in the Nordic Countries - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 7 Mar 20189 Mar 2018
Conference number: 3

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