Viewing posts by Rachel Stone
One of the main categories of entity in most historical databases is place: where are particular people, institutions and objects located and where did particular events happen? The three main problems in dealing with such historical places are also common to many databases. How should places be identified and mapped and how should hierarchies of places be represented?
In my first post in this series I outlined the factoid model we were using to record information, which can be schematically represented as follows:
As the useful links page of the website makes clear, researchers have developed a number of different medieval charter databases. The design of such databases varies, depending on the aim of the project and the technologies available. This series of blog posts aims to explain in more detail than would be possible in an article or conference paper, both how the Making of Charlemagne's Europe project database was structured and why we made the decisions we did. The main emphasis is on how our data structures relate to the specific characteristics of the content they hold (early medieval charters). While the technology continues to advance, many basic problems will remain in deciding how to represent the information in medieval documents in a standard format.
The Making of Charlemagne’s Europe team gave several presentations at the International Medieval Congress 2014 at Leeds. One of the comments raised in discussions afterwards was about the interconnectivity of the Charlemagne database with other databases; one of the people who raised this was Florence Codine-Trécourt from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Department of Coins, Medals and Antiques. She was talking about current efforts to ensure the interconnectivity of coin databases, but she’s also working within the context of the humanities institutions who have always taken interconnectivity the most seriously: libraries. One of the most useful databases to which I have access is one of the great triumphs of interconnectivity: COPAC, which connects together the library catalogues of more than 80 research libraries in the UK and Ireland.