Modeling Provenance and Uncertainties in the Use of Archival Sources of the Dutch Golden Age


This paper discusses the outcomes of the Golden Agents: Creative Industries and the Making of the Dutch Golden Age project (2016-2021) that combines Semantic Web and Multi-Agent technologies to connect existing databases of the Rijksmuseum, KB National Library of the Netherlands, and RKD for various branches of the cultural industries (painting, book production, theatre, etc.) with the contents of two million scans of probate inventories of the long Dutch Golden Age ca. 1570s-1750 in order to get more insight in the relation between the production and consumption of cultural goods, and various branches of these industries. The paper focuses on the modeling and data handling of provenance and uncertainties when directly linking to archival sources and feature the construction of “storylines of historical evidence” and an ontology for archival sources that can both become highly relevant for Digital Humanities research into historical data, in particular of the Early Modern Period.