Proposal for a Teach session: Linked Historical Data, Big and Small – use case tbd

Claartje Rasterhoff (UvA) & Auke Rijpma (UU; IISG (CLARIAH)

Just as more and more historians are getting used to working with
Excel or Access, a new type of datamodel is taking over the world:
graph databases. Increasingly, digital history projects use RDF-based
linked data models,and specific languages with which query this data
(such as SPARQL). This is not just the case in the fields of social
and economic history, where data is often structured, but also in
practices of cultural and political historians, who work with, for
example, texts, concepts or artefacts. Moreover, many cultural
institutions such as museums and libraries are making their
collections available in linked open data format (cf. Getty,
Rijksmuseum, Europeana). In this workshop we discuss linked data as a
way to enrich and link existing historical datasets, but also as a
means to represent and store the complex and often heterogeneous data
that is used by historians.

Part 1: Introduction Linked Data. What is this thing called Linked
Data? What do we talk about when we talk about triples, semantic data,
graphs and RDF? And why and how may we use these in historical
Part 2: Querying linked data: use case TBD [suggestions are welcome]. We look at the basic structure of this dataset and experiment with the querying interface and language (SPARQL).


No previous knowledge is required.

Proposal for a Teach session: Cinema Context workshop


Cinema Context workshop: reconstructing cinema networks

Julia Noordegraaf, Kathleen Lotze and Karel Dibbets

The database Cinema Context provides a wealth of data on the films, cinemas, people and companies that made up the Dutch landscape of cinema distribution and exhibition from 1896 until the present. This workshop aims to test the research affordances of the database by utilizing it to reconstruct the network of cinemas and cinema owners in the Netherlands in the past. It is of interest to researchers in the history of film, theatre, art, music and books who want to gain experience in using existing, structured data in historical network research. We will work with Excel, MS Access and network analysis and visualization software (Gephi) – no previous experience with digital data and tools is required.

Part 1: introduction to the database and MS Access; development of research question; data collection and preparation for analysis and visualization.

Part 2: introduction to Gephi, network analysis and visualization; comparison of results; conclusions.


Relevant Readings:


Karel Dibbets, “Cinema Context and the genes of film history”, in: New Review of Film and Television Studies, 8-3 (2010), p. 331-342:

Claire Lemercier, ‘Formal network methods in history: why and how?’:

Scott Weingart blog, Demystifying networks, part 1: An introduction:

Idem, part 9: Bimodal networks:


Further Reading:

Historical Network Research:

Cheat Sheet: Social Network Analysis for Humanists (list of relevant concepts):