A New Historical Model
NanoHistory is a cultural network building environment where historians and scholars, or anyone, can document the connections between people, organizations, places, and things over time. It's more than just a 'social network' focused on personal relationships. It envisions a digital history that documents the smallest objects of interest to historical scholars: an event, or interaction. Defining an event can be messy, but NanoHistory sees it as something that doesn’t necessarily have a title or a name – it just is. NanoHistory automatically links these events together to form network representations of the past.
We're busy testing the platform and hope to open it up soon!
If you'd like to take part please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The networking of historical interactions between agents and objects, over time, and in distinct places, lies at the heart of NanoHistory. These interactions - or as we call them 'events' - naturally come together as networks because the agents and objects in these interactions are shared across any number of interactions. This 'networked event model' allows NanoHistory to document and create representations of complex interactions as series of temporally limited networks of historical activity.
NanoHistory's utilizes six entities to represent agents and objects within historical interactions: People, Organizations, Places, Things, Events, and Terms. These entities fall into two classifications - they are simple or complex; and named or unnamed. Three more pseudo-entities represent specific types: Historical Episodes, Titles, and Serial Publications.
NanoHistory models historical interactions, or events, as a relationship between an agent and an object, as described by a verb. It is syntactical, and mirrors natural human language, but is based on the principles of the Research Description Framework 'Triple'. In our case, we're using named directed graphs to document who does what, where, and when. We assign each interaction a unique identifier, allowing them to be referenced in subsequent events and by a multiplicity of users.
Complex Historical Interactions
NanoHistory's networked event model provides a way of breaking this complex interaction down into a series of events, following the sentences syntactical structure, in order to create data that can be referenced in other contexts, and visualized in a number of ways. Because the event is documented with a fine (nano-level) granularity, users can then refer to and note other historical texts or evidence with corroborating or contesting data.
Dates & Time
NanoHistory allows users to assign any number of dates to any entity, and does so by noting start and end dates, which can in themselves be a range or declared ambiguous. We use Julian Days to create an integer-based system that can translate between different calendars.