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VIVO for Historical Persons


VIVO for Historical Persons (VIVO4HP) is an in-progress project to extend the VIVO ontology to accommodate historical persons, using early Stuart diplomats – those employed by the English kings James I (1603-1625) and Charles I (1625-1649) – as a use case. VIVO is an open-source semantic application that represents academic research communities. Researcher biographical data is interlinked in meaningful ways via the VIVO ontology to enable discovery, analysis, and visualization of scholarly networks. Given VIVO’s origin in academia and active user community, a number of efforts are underway to extend the ontology in areas like aerospace and agriculture; however, little experimentation has occurred in the humanities.

Our work is an attempt to adapt VIVO, as an existing system, for historical purposes that correspond closely with its original purpose of representing people, their interests, activities, and accomplishments, and the networks among them. We are testing its utility for historical networking and discovery using biographical data for a specific professional community: early Stuart diplomats. Biographical data is derived from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as the standard biographical source for Britain.

You can view the latest VIVO4HP demo web site at

If you identify an issue, please feel free to submit a GitHub Issue for this repository. You may contact us at with other questions or ideas.

About this repository

We'll use this public GitHub repository to share our extensions to the VIVO open source project and it's ontology. We hope that in the future, digital humanities researchers and other scholars that find our work useful might fork this repo, and contribute back improvements as pull requests.

About VIVO

VIVO is an open source semantic web application originally developed and implemented at Cornell. When installed and populated with content at an institution, it enables the discovery of research and scholarship across disciplines at that institution. VIVO supports browsing and a search function which returns faceted results for rapid retrieval of desired information. Content in any local VIVO installation may be maintained manually or brought into the database in automated ways from local systems of record, such as human resources, scholarships, grants, course, and faculty activity databases.

See more information on the VIVO Project at


VIVO4HP is an extension of VIVO-ISF for describing historical persons






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