More Picasso paintings in one year than all the Vermeer paintings?

Answering an art history question with SPARQL.

Sometimes a question pops into my head that, although unrelated to computers, could likely be answered with a SPARQL query. I don’t necessarily know the query off the top of my head and have to work it out. I’m going to discuss an example of one that I worked out and the steps that I took, because I wanted to show how I navigated the Wikidata data model to get what I wanted.

Queries to explore a dataset

Even a schemaless one.

I recently worked on a project where we had a huge amount of RDF and no clue what was in there apart from what we saw by looking at random triples. I developed a few SPARQL queries to give us a better idea of the dataset’s content and structure and these queries are generic enough that I thought that they could be useful to other people.

In my last posting I described Carnegie Mellon University’s Index of Digital Humanities Conferences project, which makes over 60 years of Digital Humanities research abstracts and relevant metadata available on both the project’s website and as a file of zipped CSV that they update often. I also described how I developed scripts to convert all that CSV to some pretty nice RDF and made the scripts available on github. I finished with a promise to follow up by showing some of the…

I think that RDF has been very helpful in the field of Digital Humanities for two reasons: first, because so much of that work involves gaining insight from adding new data sources to a given collection, and second, because a large part of this data is metadata about manuscripts and other artifacts. RDF’s flexibility supports both of these very well, and several standard schemas and ontologies have matured in the Digital Humanities community to help coordinate the different data sets.

I’ve been thinking about which machine learning tools can contribute the most to the field of digital humanities, and an obvious candidate is document embeddings. I’ll describe what these are below but I’ll start with the fun part: after using some document embedding Python scripts to compare the roughly 560 Wikibooks recipes to each other, I created an If you liked… web page that shows, for each recipe, what other recipes were calculated to be most similar to that…