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Intelligent Semantic Technologies for Human and Artificial Agents Collaboration


Funded by: Compagnia di San Paolo and Università di Torino

Partners: Dip. di Informatica and Dip. di Studi Storici (Unito)

In collaboration with: Polo del '900, Istituto Piemontese Antonio Gramsci

Period: 2017-2020

Web page:

Contact: Anna Goy (annamaria.goy[at]

The objective of PRiSMHA (Providing Rich Semantic Metadata for Historical Archives) is to demonstrate how a rich semantic representation of the content of historical archival resources can both:

  • provide a significant enhancement in the possibilities of exploitation of archival resources;
  • be sustainable, as far as the overload imposed by knowledge acquisition (and the consequent bottleneck in the process) is concerned.

A rich semantic representation means a formal representation based on established standards (e.g., OWL, RDF, Linked Open Data), grounded in well-founded reference ontologies (e.g., DOLCE), and supporting the detailed representation of historical events, including their location, temporal information, how the involved entities participate in them, and relations among events themselves.

Such a representation has been designed in collaboration with historians involved in the project, providing the needed domain expertise.

The sustainability of the approach relies on a crowdsourcing collaborative model, where both experts and trusted users (e.g., students) participate in the semantic annotation process. In particular, the interaction model is driven by the underlying ontologies (the top-core model HERO: Historical Event Representation Ontology, and the domain model HERO-900) and is supported with suggestions provided by automatic information extraction techniques.

PRiSMHA is based on a close collaboration with the Polo del '900, a cultural center, headquartered in Torino, co-funded by Compagnia di San Paolo, Comune di Torino and Regione Piemonte. It involves nineteen cultural and historical institutions - engaged in research and cultural initiatives about the 20th Century social, economic and political issues in Piemonte, and hosting an extremely rich set of documentary repositories.

In particular, PRiSMHA relies on documents from the archives and library of the Fondazione Istituto piemontese Antonio Gramsci, which - with its 2.5 km of documents - represents the major "contributor" (25%) of the Polo del '900 archives.

The domain selected for the proof-of-concept prototype is represented by documents concerning the students and workers protest during the years 1968-1969 in Italy.

More info:

Involved people:

Anna Goy, Rossana Damiano, Diego Magro, Daniele Radicioni, Antonio Lieto, Enrico Mensa, Marco Rovera, Davide Colla, Cristina Re, Marco Leontino (Dip. Informatica, Unito)

Fabrizio Loreto, Cristina Accornero (Dip. Studi Storici, Unito)

Dunia Astrologo, Bruno Boniolo, Matteo D'Ambrosio, Elisa Elmi, Valeria Mosca, Claudio Salin, Alice Montanaro, Cristina Re (Fondaz. Ist. Piemontese A. Gramsci, Polo del '900)