Personal Data Repository (PDR)

Berlin-Brandenburgische Academy of Sciences



The development of a digital infrastructure for scientific and biographical information is the objective of the Personal Data Repository. The openness of the system for a variety of different biographical corpora is paramount. Research projects should be able to use their own workspaces on a common platform. In this way, data sets from different research contexts can be linked to one another. At the same time, the respective approaches and perspectives of the projects remain. The repository or the central data storage is the core element which hosts the various personal data collections. The repository interacts with the "Archive Editor", a client program that is used to edit personal data. In addition, tools relating to displaying on the Internet or structuring and enriching personal data are available.

To the Tool

Click here for the Personal Data Repository.

Figure: Input software archive-editor to work on the personal data repository

Reasons for a Personal Data Repository

The scientific production of texts produces considerable collections of information in the course of the work. This collections are an important basis for the research work. This information can usually not be provided for the public, because of the unavalability of suitable infrastructures or the technical effort for self-development exceed the financial framework.

The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences hosts a series of research projects, which collect prosographic data besides the main editorial work. In addition there exists some projects with a prosopographical focus. The usability of the information beyond the value of e.g. a personal reigster remains limited as long as neither the availability nor the structure of the data is given in digital form.

Data Modell

For structuring of heterogeneous biographical data, the project pursues a novel approach, which allows a high semantic flexibility. A person is defined as the set of all valid propositions. It enables to represent both supplementary and contradictory statements side by side, which can result in fundamental problems of biographical work. This concept deviates from the traditional approach of capturing people as data sets with predefined properties.

A single statement about a person, called the aspect of the data model, therefor is the smallest data unit in the personal data repository. An aspect combines person names, place names, corporate names, terms and dates in a context. Furthermore, each aspect has to be referenced through a source.

The content structure and categorization can be determined by each project through an individual conceptual scheme. Thus the research perspectives are retained in each corpus, while the common data structure establishes comparability of the information.

Data Set

The PDR currently operates two repositories in Berlin and Rome. The Berlin Repository at the BBAW includes about 80,000 historical persons, mainly from the area of Prussia with a focus on the 19th century. The Roman Repositorium, built in cooperation with the MUSICI project, contains data on about 1000 musicians and persons from the musical environment, who stayed in Italy between the 16th and 18th centuries.




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