Digital Classics Online (Nov 2017)

Standards for Networking Ancient Person data: Digital approaches to problems in prosopographical space

  • Mark Depauw,
  • Gabriel Bodard,
  • Hugh Cayless,
  • Leif Isaksen,
  • Faith Lawrence,
  • Sebastian Rahtz

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 3, no. 2
pp. 28 – 43


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Prosopographies disambiguate names appearing in sources by creating lists of persons, but the progress of scholarship now makes these lists difficult to maintain. In a digital context unique stable identifiers can be reshuffled ad libitum when searching and ordering information. Digital data increasingly brings together complementary research outputs: the Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies project takes on the challenge of creating an aggregated resource, adopting a Linked Open Data approach. In this paper we shall present three case studies highlighting the promise and problems of encoding unambiguous identities, titulature and other disambiguating information, and treating divine figures as person-data, respectively. Digital approaches are tools for research, assisting rather than replacing the historian, who remains central to the research endeavor.