Visualising DBpedia data with Timeliner

DBpedia is one of the greatest sources for humanities researchers that can be found online. The incredible amounts of structured data can be used to create overviews of periods in history, showing the great thinkers of the enlightenment, create a network of medieval philosophers, show all paintings form France during the Renaissance and so on.

At the moment however, the easy to use tools to make these kind of queries and to visualise them are not very well available. It is hard for a user to start using the SPARQL explorer, the DBpedia query builder is being redesigned and the facetted search browser unfortunately stopped working.

At the same time the tools for easy visualisation of this data are lacking. For that reason I would to use this day to work together with DBpedia experts to query data and to visualise it with the Timeliner tool being developed by the Open Knowledge Foundation. This tool allows you to easily create timelines by filling in a Google doc spreadsheet. We can query the data we want from DBpedia, clean it up a bit and visualise it. For an example see this timeline of Medieval Philosophers

Everybody is of course welcome to join this session, but in order to make it work I am explicitly looking for people with a good basic knowledge how to query DBpedia. It would be great if you could get in touch before the session to discuss the possibilities. You can contact me via joris.pekel [at]

The Timeliner is an open source tool still under development. If people attending are interested in further developing it this day that would be great. A list of Github issues can be found here

Categories: Data Mining, Visualization |
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About Joris Pekel

I work at the Open Knowledge Foundation where we work to get more data and knowledge freely available online without any restrictions. I mainly work with (research) libraries archives and museums and am very interested how these digital resources, combined with the right tools, can change humanities research.