Representing gazetteers and period thesauri in four-dimensional space–time
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- Niccolucci, F. & Hermon, S. Int J Digit Libr (2016) 17: 63. doi:10.1007/s00799-015-0159-x
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Gazetteers, i.e., lists of place-names, enable having a global vision of places of interest through the assignment of a point, or a region, to a place name. However, such identification of the location corresponding to a place name is often a difficult task. There is no one-to-one correspondence between the two sets, places and names, because of name variants, different names for the same place and homonymy; the location corresponding to a place name may vary in time, changing its extension or even the position; and, in general, there is the imprecision deriving from the association of a concept belonging to language (the place name) to a precise concept (the spatial location). Also for named time periods, e.g., early Bronze Age, which are of current use in archaeology, the situation is similar: they depend on the location to which they refer as the same period may have different time-spans in different locations. The present paper avails of a recent extension of the CIDOC CRM called CRMgeo, which embeds events in a spatio-temporal 4-dimensional framework. The paper uses concepts from CRMgeo and introduces extensions to model gazetteers and period thesauri. This approach enables dealing with time-varying location appellations as well as with space-varying period appellations on a robust basis. For this purpose a refinement/extension of CRMgeo is proposed and a discretization of space and time is used to approximate real space–time extents occupied by events. Such an approach solves the problem and suggests further investigations in various directions.