Biographical and Prosopographical Data
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Once you have marked up names of people/places/organizations you might want to point from those names to stored biographical and prosopographical data concerning the people/places/organizations.

Reality vs text


  • listPerson (a list of person descriptions)
  • personGrp (group of individuals)
  • person (information about an individual)
  • relationGrp (information about relationships identified amongst people, places, and organizations)

Personal data

Structured information about a person, distinct from their name/s
  • Three new model classes:
    • model.persTrait: traits, e.g. eye colour, ethnicity
    • model.persState: states, e.g. name, residence, occupation
    • model.persEvent: changes in state e.g. birth, marriage, death
  • in each class:
    • a small number of generally useful elements
    • one generic element, e.g. persTrait
  • attributes for dating (dateValue, notBefore, notAfter) and responsibility (resp)
  • relationships between people are represented by standoff relation element
  • person or personGrp, like bibl, can be regarded either as metadata or as content

Personal Characteristics

  • trait (some culturally-determined characteristic)
  • faith (faith or belief set of a person)
  • langKnowledge (summary of a person's linguistic competence)
    • langKnown (knowledge of a single language)
  • nationality (a person's present or past nationality or citizenship)
  • sex (the sex of a person)
  • age (the age of a person)
  • socecStatus (perceived social or economic status)

Personal States

  • state (a description of some ongoing status of a person/place/organization)
  • occupation (informal description of a trade or profession)
  • residence (a person's past or present place of residence)
  • affiliation (a person's past or present affiliation)
  • education (a description of a person's educational history)
  • floruit (information about a person's period of activity)

Personal Events

  • birth (information about a person's birth, such as its date and place)
  • death (information about a person's death, such as its date and place)
  • event (data relating to any kind of significant event associated with a person, place, or organization)

A simple person

<person age="18sex="1"> <persName>  <forename>Ichabod</forename>  <surname>Crane</surname> </persName> <birth date="1756-03-17">  <placeName>   <settlement>New York</settlement>   <country>USA</country>  </placeName> </birth> <death date="1809-03-27">  <placeName>   <settlement>Washington, DC</settlement>   <country>USA</country>  </placeName> </death> <affiliation notBefore="1797-05notAfter="1798-10-31">Sleepy Hollow School</affiliation></person>


  • relationGrp (information about relationships identified amongst people, places, and organizations)
  • relation (describes any kind of relationship or linkage amongst a specified group of participants)
  • The relation element also has four important attributes:
    supplies a name for the kind of relationship of which this is an instance
    identifies the 'active' participants in a non-mutual relationship, or all the participants in a mutual one
    supplies a list of participants amongst all of whom the relationship holds equally
    identifies the ‘passive’ participants in a non-mutual relationship


  • listOrg (a list of descriptions of organizations)
  • org (information about an identifiable organization such as a business, a tribe, or any other grouping of people)
  • orgName (an organization's name)


  • listPlace (a list of places)
  • place (contains data about a geographic location)
  • placeName (an absolute or relative place name)
  • location (the location of a place as a set of geographical coordinates, in terms of a other named geo-political entities, or as an address)
  • geo (geographical coordinates)

Place states, traits and events

In addition to the generic state, trait, and event elements, there are a few predefined for places:
  • population (information about the population of a place)
  • climate (information about the physical climate of a place)
  • terrain (information about the physical terrain of a place)

Place Example

<place xml:id="SH1"> <placeName>Sleepy Hollow</placeName> <settlement>Sleepy Hollow</settlement> <district>Tarrytown</district> <region>New York</region> <country>USA</country> <climate>  <p>Sleepy</p> </climate> <population when="1798-10-30">  <p>78</p> </population> <population when="1798-10-31">  <p>77</p> </population> <terrain>  <p>Woody, with rolling hills, with large sections cleared for peach farming.</p> </terrain> <state notBefore="1798-07-10notAfter="1798-11-01">  <p>Haunted occasionally by a Headless Horseman</p> </state></place>

Place relationships

  • place and listPlace (and event, trait and state) can self-nest indicating to indicate relationship
  • Alternatively relation can be used, as with person elements to indicate relations in a stand-off method
  • If the data forms a convenient hierarchy then nesting is easiest, but if it changes frequently or places belong to more than one categorization, then using relation is more flexible

Names and Nyms

Names can be regarded as objects in their own right irrespective of the object to which they are attached, e.g. in onomastic studies
  • listNym (a list of canonical names)
  • nym (the definition for a canonical name or namepart)
  • A nym can be seen as a specialised dictionary entry for a name, which might have multiple forms

All Together Example

<place type="cityxml:id="LYON1"> <placeName notBefore="1400">Lyon</placeName> <placeName notAfter="0056">Lugdunum</placeName> <location>  <geo>41.687142 -74.870109</geo> </location></place>
<p>Don't tell <forename nymRef="#N123ref="#BLT"> Tony</forename>...</p><!-- ... --><person xml:id="BLT"> <persName>Tony Blair</persName> <occupation>politician</occupation></person><!--...--><nym xml:id="N123"> <form>Antony</form> <form xml:lang="la">Antonius</form><!-- ... --></nym>
Names, Dates, People and Places