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Berkeley Prosopography Services Successfully Demonstrates New Toolkit

Berkeley Prosopography Services network diagram

Berkeley Prosopography Services (BPS) successfully demonstrated the recently implemented end-to-end integration of a toolkit for prosopographical research last week. In a two-day workshop organized as part of a Social Science Matrix-sponsored Research Seminar for AY 2015-2016, the BPS team and research partners from across the United States had the opportunity to view and test drive digital tools that facilitate the disambiguation of namesakes in text corpora and visualization of associated social networks, regardless of language, script, chronological framework, or corpus contents.

BPS is an open-source prosopographical toolkit that leverages heuristics and workflows familiar to humanities researchers, computes social network metrics, and generates interactive visualizations of the biological and social connections that link documented individuals in text corpora. The tools provide a dynamic means of researching historical communities documented in legal, administrative, and literary texts and archives.

Cuneiformists, papyrologists, and classicists shared data sets and explored the outcomes as the results of the disambiguation process were presented in a dynamic SNA graph visualization. BPS particularly acknowledges the support of the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, its director Todd Hickey, graduate student Caroline Cheung, and recent post-doc Micaela Langellotti. The accompanying image of an SNA visualization depicts the networks that BPS detected in a papyrus register that is a component of Langellotti’s study of the Grapheion archive. Partners from Tufts University and the Perseids Project explored potential integration with the SNA engine as a complement to the pedagogical workflow and goals of the Journey of the Hero project.

Read more on the Digital Humanities at Berkeley blog.