Knowledge Engineering for Historians on the Example of the Catalogus Professorum Lipsiensis

Although the Internet, as an ubiquitous medium for communication, publication and research, already significantly influenced the way historians work, the capabilities of the Web as a direct medium for collaboration in historic research are not much explored. We report about the application of an adaptive, semantics-based knowledge engineering approach for the development of a prosopographical knowledge base on the Web - the Catalogus Professorum Lipsiensis. In order to enable historians to collect, structure and publish prosopographical knowledge an ontology was developed and knowledge engineering facilities based on the semantic data wiki OntoWiki were implemented. The resulting knowledge base contains information about more than 14.000 entities and is tightly interlinked with the emerging Web of Data. For access and exploration by other historians a number of access interfaces were developed, such as a visual SPARQL query builder, a relationship finder and a Linked Data interface. The approach is transferable to other prosopographical research projects and historical research in general, thus improving the collaboration in historic research communities and facilitating the reusability of historic research results.