Vocabularies for classicists

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Classicists working on digital projects that involve data are encouraged to link their data to the semantic web. If you are new to the topic, start here (Linked open data).

In thinking about new vocabularies, whether for subjects, predicates, or objects of triples, one should begin with a survey of what already exists. By using one another's vocabularies, we reinforce the interoperability, and therefore utility, of our data. And it saves the time of having to reinvent the wheel. Below are a selection of vocabularies that may be useful to classicists. A master list of datasets is maintained by ckan's Data Hub, and is an excellent place to look for obscure ontologies and controlled vocabularies. Datasets that are especially helpful for scholars of premodernity are here:


See a list of others here. See here for a visual map.

Bibliography and Texts

It is helpful to understand something about the hierarchy of texts (such as the one adopted by Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records [FRBR]). Vocabularies describing ancient works in the abstract (under FRBR called works) will take a different approach than ones describing manuscripts, papyri, ostraca, etc. (under FRBR called items)

Note, that although the following are not vocabularies per se, they are important for the creation of vocabularies or RDF triples that involve ancient texts:


Prosopography, persons



For other examples of projects that use controlled vocabularies for linked open data, see the category listing as well as Very clean URIs.