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Knora: A Generic Storage System and API for Accessing and Reusing Digital Qualitative Research Data in the Humanities

FORGE-Konferenz(SoSe 15)

  While an increasing volume of primary source materials and research data in the humanities is now available in online repositories, it is often difficult to work with this data in new research. Facilities for searching, annotating, linking, and extending data produced by different projects, and stored in different repositories, are limited or nonexistent, or at best highly heterogeneous. Moreover, the great diversity of storage systems underlying existing repositories makes it cumbersome to construct such facilities at present. We argue that these problems can be solved by storing research data in RDF triplestores, using a flexible set of shared ontologies that abstract out the basic commonalities in diverse data sets, along with project-specific ontologies derived from these, and by providing a generic, extensible Application Programming Interface (API) for accessing the data. We describe Knora (Knowledge Organization, Representation, and Annotation), an implementation of this approach, and discuss the lessons learned from its development and use.

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