A new paper by Thierry Declerck and Rachele Sprugnoli has been published in the proceedings of the Second Conference on Biographical Data in a Digital World (BD-2017).

Title: Considerations about Uniqueness and Unalterability for the Encoding of Biographical Data in Ontologies

Abstract: This paper results from observations that have been made while studying ontological and linked data-based approaches to the encoding of biographical data. Based on certain issues we discovered and which will be described here, we aim to call for a collaborative work towards guidelines for modelling biographical data in the standard Semantic Web representation languages. The need for guidelines became even more clear after reading an article, which described various types of errors in biographical data encoding that have been generated due to an unsuitable use of the owl:sameAs property when referring to the linked data-based description of the life of two literary authors. In this context, there is also a need to agree on the core element of which a biographical description constitutes. More specifically, we aim to determine the “biographical unit”, which should be primarily modelled and to which all related information should be linked by using corresponding semantic properties. Apart from that, we will also discuss the need of the definition and use of synchronic versus diachronic properties associated with the modelled biographical unit. Regarding this point, we come to the conclusion that for the description of a biographical unit, there are probably no properties whose values remain unaltered over time. This is particularly true if the provenance information, that can provide contrasting values which, however, might be correct from different point of views, is taken into account.