Over the last 20 years, digitization endeavors have greatly enhanced the availability of cultural heritage (CH) information across Europe. On the one hand, tangible objects from museums, archives, and libraries have become accessible via numerous object databases (ODBs) and aggregated transnationally by platforms such as Europeana. On the other hand, intangible CH information has been documented in natural language form, such as by newspaper articles or by narrative accounts on the lives of historical individuals—which the InTaVia project focuses on. These biographical records have been digitized and shared as partially structured prosopographical databases (PDBs) on a national level. While these developments provide an excellent basis for the enhanced scholarly and public reception, utilization, and promotion of European CH, various techno-logical and organizational restrictions prevent the exploitation of the existing data.
As one key challenge, connections between tangible and intangible asset collections have to be strengthened, which requires concerted (infra)structural development efforts. Another challenge derives from a current lack of interconnections between national PDBs, which requires transnational harmonization. To facilitate access to these rich repositories, new technologies are needed to enable their analysis, curation and communication for a variety of target groups without computational and technological expertise. In face of many large, heterogeneous, and unconnected CH collections we aim to develop supporting technologies to better access and manage in/tangible CH data and topics, to better study and analyze them, to curate, enrich and interlink existing collections, and to better communicate and promote their inventories.
The Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems (VIS) at the University of Stuttgart is taking a leading role in the development of the Visual Analytics Studio that will make data on in/tangible CH available to users in visual interactive ways by offering novel, more holistic perspectives on this information. Furthermore, VIS is involved in the development of a dynamic text mining environment for analyzing biographical and other historiographical texts.