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An Ever-Expanding Humanities Knowledge Graph: The Sphaera Corpus at the Intersection of Humanities, Data Management, and Machine Learning

Hassan El-Hajj
Maryam Zamani
Jochen Büttner
Julius Martinetz
Oliver Eberle
Noga Shlomi
Anna Siebold
Grégoire Montavon
Klaus-Robert Müller
Holger Kantz & Matteo Valleriani

May 16, 2022

The Sphere project stands at the intersection of the humanities and information sciences. The project aims to better understand the evolution of knowledge in the early modern period by studying a collection of 359 textbook editions published between 1472 and 1650 which were used to teach geocentric cosmology and astronomy at European universities. The relatively large size of the corpus at hand presents a challenge for traditional historical approaches, but provides a great opportunity to explore such a large collection of historical data using computational approaches. In this paper, we present a review of the different computational approaches, used in this project over the period of the last three years, that led to a better understanding of the dynamics of knowledge transfer and transformation in the early modern period.