The Dream of a Global Network of Knowledge - New Trends in eHumanities

Martin Doerr, Institute of Computer Science Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas, Greece


November 17, 2011

The Dream of a Global Network of Knowledge
Digital Libraries develop more and more from collections of literatures similar to classical libraries into aggregation services of diverse forms of information assets for the support of research and interested public. Access to primary cultural information, as for instance provided by museums and archives, but also access to individual facts and statements contained in literature, has completely different requirements from traditional library access. Primary information is bits and pieces that, brought into appropriate relationships, allows for reconstructing a possible past and to give interpretations about the intellectual, social and psychological backgrounds. As such it is prior to having a typical subject, and if it has, it is often unrelated to the particular information users are interested in. Rather, users seek for contexts in which there is a probability to find evidence for the topic under investigation. In order to be attractive, a digital information service on primary cultural resources must be integrated and comprehensive and provide adequate answers to the research questions, i.e., it should present relevant relationships and contextual information, not just “the document you requested”. We regard as some of the grand challenges for digital research libraries a) provision of global, integrated and extensible ontologies of contextual relationships under which relevant data and metadata can be searched and explored, b) scalable, distributed co-reference resolution mechanisms that integrate disparate information assets into coherent networks of knowledge (Linked Open Data is a still naive step in this direction) and c) adequate query and exploration methods of the emerging huge and complex integrated information spaces. The presentation will describe solutions and new approaches to these goals, and conclude their general feasibility.

(presentation slides)

Bio: Dr. Martin Doerr is a Principal Researcher in the Information Systems Laboratory and the head of the Centre for Cultural Informatics of the Institute of Computer Science, Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas, Greece. He has published extensively in the area of information sciences and computer sciences, also at interfaces with digital humanities and cultural heritage about topics such as “A Distributed Object Repository for Cultural Heritage” (2010) and “Ontology-Based Metadata Integration in the Cultural Heritage Domain”  (2007), to name only two examples.