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BiographyNet: the Project

The Biography Portal of the Netherlands links more than 75.000 Dutch people mentioned in various databases, through a limited set of metadata. This project aims to enhance its potential for historical research by transforming the available data into a semantic knowledge base and through the creation of a demonstrator. BiographyNet is a multidisciplinary project that combines expertise from history, computer science and computational linguistics.

The lead questions for the design of a semantic demonstrator are: Which relations can we reveal between people and events, geographical movements and networks between people? What do they tell historians about the formation of Dutch society and the ‘boundaries of the Netherlands’?

The current search engine lacks the analytic tools to show interconnections, trends, geographical maps, time lines, etc. This project aims to strengthen the value of the portal and comparable biographical datasets for historical research, by improving the search options and the presentation of its outcomes, starting from the Simple Event Model. The demonstrator will add a semantic layer on to the current Biography Portal. This layer can also include information from external resources, such as museum objects or Wikipedia. Ultimately, the project may help to reveal unknown relations between people and events by linking data that has mainly been studied in isolation so far.

Project Meetings

BiographyNet project meetings are once every two weeks;

Next Meeting:

Unless stated otherwise the location is WN-U325 (the Exact Sciences building at VU University in Amsterdam).

Previous Meetings

More Information

Information on who we are and what we do can be found on our main website: [1]

Availability of main researchers


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