Sekino Tatsuki
International Research Center for Japanese Studies. Professor
Hara Shoichiro
Kyoto University. Center for Southeast Asian Studies



歴史地名では、単に地名と緯度経度と結びつけるだけでなく、その地名が使われた時代や地名の歴史的な変遷についての情報が必要である。このような包括的な地名の基盤情報を幅広い時空間を対象に提供するには、各機関が作成した歴史地名データを連携させることが有効である。これを推進するため、セマンティック・ウェブ技術によるLinked Dataの仕組みを活用した歴史地名データ用のスキーマの設計と実データへの適用が進められている。さらに、あいまいな場所のデータ化や相対的な場所の表記といった、歴史地名データにかかる課題への対応や、時間、地図、人名などの他の基盤情報との連携も試みられている。

Construction and linkage of historical place-name data of Japan

Place-names are necessary tools to specify a geographic position. As geographic information systems (GIS) have become popular in recent years, geocoding that links a place-name with its latitude and longitude is essential. In Japan, some research organizations and companies have provided geocoding services (e.g., Center for Spatial Information Science, The University of Tokyo). Overseas, GeoNames is a remarkable service that provides information about place-names around the world. However, these services provide only contemporary place-names and are not applicable to place-names in historical documents. To solve this issue, we have constructed a historical gazetteer data of Japan. For example, the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) has built and published Japanese historical gazetteer data, which includes more than 300,000 place-names between Meiji and early Showa.

Historical gazetteer data must be comprehensive by including not only the longitude and latitude of a place but also other related information such as the period when the name was used and its historical transition. Linking gazetteers of different organizations are believed to be an excellent solution to create such comprehensive service, as each organization has organized place-names of different areas and periods. We have designed and applied a new data schema using semantic Web technologies to link various historical gazetteers. We have also attempted to handle ambiguous positions, notations, and readings of place-names, and develop a more comprehensive knowledge service by linking other information platforms such as data of historical events, historical persons, and old maps.