SPQR: Supporting Productive Queries for Research
Supporting Productive Queries for Research (SPQR) addresses the integration of heterogeneous datasets in the humanities, specifically data relating to classical antiquity, using a linked data approach and based on the recently published Europeana Data Model (EDM).
The researcher requirements addressed by SPQR are driven by the outcomes of the JISC ENGAGE funded project LaQuAT, which concluded that a relational database model for integrating these datasets is often too inflexible. It is in precisely this regard that Semantic Web (SW) and Linked Data (LD) approaches have great potential, as they allow researchers to formalise resources and the links between them more flexibly, and to create, explore and query these linked resources.
Closely allied to LD has been work on ontologies for providing agreed meanings for both links and the resources they connect. Thus ontologies can act as the semantic mediator between heterogeneous databases, enabling researchers to explore, understand and extend these datasets more productively and so improve the contributions that the data can make to their research. Using the EDM as ontology has the additional advantage of easy integration of the humanities resources into the Europeana portal. A portal that will host the converted datasets which will allow researchers to navigate through the integrated data, run queries over the data and perform free-text searches.