Knowledge Engineering for Historians/Introduction

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Introduction | Knowledge Engineering — A Primer | Modelling Historical Knowledge | Advanced Topics

Introduction[edit]

This wikibook is about how historians can leverage the technical contributions that the discipline of Knowledge Engineering has made to modern research in their own work.

How We Got Here[edit]

  • historians are trying to take advantages of the technologies that computers have, but they have no money to fund any research
  • the Internet and its search engines are a great help
  • in the early 80s, in the heyday's of AI, it looked like expert systems would be the way to go, but then the AI winter hit before the historians could really learn how to build or use them
  • the "Let's use Databases!" movement fizzled in the late 90s because it was not immediately obvious how to address the issues of semantics underlying the coding of the data
  • with OWL, the knowledge engineering is getting back into the swing of things
  • ontologies such as the Council of Museum's conceptual reference model indicate that the time has come to learn this valuable tool
  • one history ontology is already available, embedded in VICODI, see also the paper by Richard Deswarte and Jan Ooesthook on their experience contributing to this effort, the ontology itself

Where we are going to go[edit]

  • in the primer, we are going to
    • find out what the fundamental benefits derivable from knowledge engineering are
    • get an idea of what the various (freely) available tools offer
  • in the basic round, we are going to
    • model some fundamental facts that historians need all the time
    • model some intermediate concepts, like sources and point of view
  • in the advanced round, we are going to
    • model more difficult stuff, like temporal projections
    • consider modelling problems that involve shifting the resolution of the knowledge we are reasoning over