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Mapping Manuscript Migrations on the Semantic Web: A Semantic Portal and Linked Open Data Service for Premodern Manuscript Research

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 12922)


This paper presents the Mapping Manuscript Migrations (MMM) system in use for modeling, aggregating, publishing, and studying heterogeneous, distributed premodern manuscript databases on the Semantic Web. A general “Sampo model” is applied to publishing and using linked data in Digital Humanities (DH) research and to creating the MMM system that includes a semantic portal and a Linked Open Data (LOD) service. The idea is to provide the manuscript data publishers with a novel collaborative way to enrich their contents with related data of the other providers and by reasoning. For the end user, the MMM Portal facilitates semantic faceted search and exploration of the data, integrated seamlessly with data analytic tools for solving research problems in manuscript studies. In addition, the SPARQL endpoint of the LOD service can be used with external tools for customized use in DH research and applications. The MMM services are available online, based on metadata of over 220 000 manuscripts from the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (University of Pennsylvania), the Medieval Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries, and Bibale of Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes in Paris. Evaluation of the MMM Portal suggests that the system is useful in manuscript studies and outperforms current systems online in searching, exploring, and analyzing data.


  • Manuscripts
  • Semantic portals
  • Linked data
  • Digital humanities

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    Using, e.g., IIIF:

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    The current web service is described in

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    See for details about the SDBM data and the web service.

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    See for a catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges.

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    crm =

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    frbroo =

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    See for more info about the Sampo portals.

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    Prosopography is a method that is used to study groups of people through their biographical data. The goal of prosopography is to find connections, trends, and patterns from these groups.

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    The home page of the KG:

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    The public SPARQL endpoint:

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    Liturgical manuscripts are retrieved using string comparison on the work labels as there is no classification of manuscript types in the data sources.

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    The SPARQL query can be seen and run at:

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    The SPARQL query can be seen and run at:

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Thanks to Antoine Brix, Doug Emery, Mitch Fraas, Benjamin Heller, David Lewis, Synnøve Myking, Kevin Page, Pierre-Louis Pinault, Guillaume Porte, Emma Thomson, Athanasios Velios, Pip Willcox and other members of the project team for discussions and collaboration. Our work was funded by the Trans-Atlantic Platform under its Digging into Data Challenge for 2017–2019. The project was led by the University of Oxford, in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, Aalto University and Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities (HELDIG) at the University of Helsinki, and the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (IRHT). The technical development presented in this paper was funded mainly by the Academy of Finland. CSC – IT Center for Science provided computational resources for the project.

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Hyvönen, E. et al. (2021). Mapping Manuscript Migrations on the Semantic Web: A Semantic Portal and Linked Open Data Service for Premodern Manuscript Research. In: , et al. The Semantic Web – ISWC 2021. ISWC 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12922. Springer, Cham.

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