Factual Biography as Insfrastructure
What I am calling “factual biographies” in machine-parsable structures can provide vital infrastructure for historians, biographers, and many other kinds of research work, and indeed for the scholarly record itself. I will begin with definitions and examples, and discuss some of the drivers for creating, sharing and reusing such biographies and some of the data sources that can feed them; this will include a discussion of the essential subordinate role of bibliography here. I’ll examine a second, lower level of key infrastructure — names and identifiers — and the state of developments in those areas. Finally, the presentation will cover some considerations about the availability and use of aggregated factual biographies at scale, including privacy questions.