Category Archives: prosopography

Who does SNAP:DRGN serve?

dh-snap-thumbAs we come to the end of the first year of SNAP:DRGN funding, and start planning applications for follow-up funding, it is worth rehearsing the main academic and other benefits of the SNAP:DRGN projects and the prosopographical-onomastic graph that we hope it feeds into. Continue reading Who does SNAP:DRGN serve?

FAQ: What are the limits of SNAP content?

We have often been asked:

“SNAP” contains the word “Ancient,” which suggests a rather inclusive definition of classical antiquity, but “DRGN” includes “Greco-Roman”, which implies more traditional restriction. Are you interested in prosopographies from outside the strictly Greek and Roman world?

Yes! (Short answer.)

Longer answer is in two parts: Continue reading FAQ: What are the limits of SNAP content?


Being a conversation between Gabriel Bodard, Yanne Broux and Silke Vanbeselaere about the SNAP:DRGN project and Social Network Analysis

Cross-posted to Data Ninjas:

Gabriel Bodard: So, tell me what is Social Network Analysis, and how is it useful for prosopography projects?

Silke Vanbeselaere: Social Network Analysis (SNA) is basically the study of relationships between people through network theory. First used in sociology, it’s now become popular in many other disciplines, with a budding group of enthusiasts in (ancient) history.
What it does, is focus on relations (of whatever kind) instead of on the actors individually. Through visualisation of the network graph and the network statistics, information can be obtained about the structure of the network and the roles of the individuals in it. Continue reading (SNA)P

Are you a prosopography?

At the SNAP:DRGN project meeting in Edinburgh a few weeks ago, we decided on a couple of definitions that will impact on the ways in which partner datasets interact with the project. Our current thinking is that we need to distinguish between two kinds of data:

(1) The first kind, which we’ll loosely call a “prosopography”, is a curated database of person records, with some ambition to be able to be used as an authority list. Prosopographies such as PIR, Broughton, PBW, etc. would be obvious examples of this category, as would the controlled vocabulary of persons in a library catalog like VIAF, Zenon, British Museum persons, Trismegistos Authors, the Perseus Catalog, etc. Even if the task of co-referencing persons is incomplete (as with Trismegistos, say), the intention to disambiguate qualifies the dataset as a “prosopography”. Continue reading Are you a prosopography?

Some example RDF fragments

In the process of working with a few of our partner projects, we have produced some sample RDF fragments, which we thought might be useful as an illustration of SNAP RDF format for other projects currently planning to expose a version of their data via our graph. We hope to include at least some examples of this kind in a later version of the SNAP:DRGN Cookbook. Continue reading Some example RDF fragments

Entering the SNAPDRGN garden

Now that the SNAP project has started ingest finalized data from the initial core datasets, it is time to think about how to bring in material from the other partners. For some, this will be easy, as they already know to make available their data in RDF form on the open web and simply need to follow the guidelines in the Cookbook. For others quite a lot of work will be involved getting SNAP ready. This post describes some of the stages you may go through, and some of the problems that you may meet.

I have divided the work into six steps: Continue reading Entering the SNAPDRGN garden

SNAP at Digital Humanities 2014

The SNAP Project is proud to announce the Ontologies for Prosopography: Who’s Who? or, Who was Who? one-day workshop developed in conjunction with the People of the Founding Era project based at the University of Virginia. The workshop will give the opportunity for SNAP to present our data model to a wider audience and engage with the researchers working on similar problems other periods and geographic areas. Continue reading SNAP at Digital Humanities 2014

Workshop slides and recap

At last week’s SNAP workshop in King’s College London, we had a very successful and enjoyable two-day meeting, introducing the principles of and the preliminary work done by the SNAP:DRGN project in its first three months, and hearing from several potential project partners about their datasets, practices and reactions to our proposals. It was an extremely productive and positive affair, even when discussions sometimes became vigorous! I don’t mean to summarize all of the discussions and outcomes here (a series of blog posts by my colleagues over the next couple of weeks will do more of that), but I will share what I can of the presentations and slideshows that were shown at the workshop. Continue reading Workshop slides and recap


Last week, Faith gave a great overview of some of the issues involved in describing the relationships between people. This week, I’m going to come at the problem from the other side, looking at what data we have, and how SNAP plans to represent them.

Our initial datasets include Trismegistos People (TM, described by Mark), the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names (LGPN, described by Sebastian), and a set of names (article headwords) from the Prosopographia Imperii Romani, 2nd edition (PIR²) put together by Tom Elliott. TM has web pages that document the references to names and people found in papyri, many of which are hosted at, as well as resources describing the names and person; references, names, and persons all have unique identifiers. LGPN comes at the problem of modeling people from a different angle. They start with persons and add names and references; persons and names have unique identifiers. From PIR², we have only persons, with a “principal” name and identifying number (the article number) attached to them. Continue reading Tensions