From the Mechanics of Jacob Bernoulli to Digital History of Science. Infrastructure, Tools, and Methods

Alassi, Sepideh. From the Mechanics of Jacob Bernoulli to Digital History of Science. Infrastructure, Tools, and Methods. 2020, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/81737/

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The objective of this thesis is to promote the employment of Linked Open Data practices in the creation and presentation of digital editions of written historical sources, to offer tools for facilitating research, and to suggest a new research method based on the Linked Data representation of digital editions. Even though the current thesis mainly focuses on proposing a digital approach to research in the field of history of science, the discussed concepts and tools, and the new method are applicable to any humanities field.
In order to understand the needs of the field of history of science and to develop tools with practical use in research, I chose to study the contributions of Jacob Bernoulli (1654–1705) to rational mechanics, a topic that has not been previously studied. The first part of this thesis is dedicated to the study of Bernoulli’s works on mechanics mainly focusing on his analyses of the Funicularia problem, elasticity, theory of neutral axis, and parallelogram of forces. This research is based on an in-depth study of Bernoulli’s mechanics through published articles, correspondences, and private notes.
The second part of this thesis describes the process of creating digital editions of these types of historical data using semantic web technologies, their integration into a virtual research environment (VRE) called the Bernoulli Euler Online (BEOL) platform, and the tools offered to study the generated network of resources. This thesis illustrates the representation of the scientific-historical data as a network of resources on the web and describes the advanced research tools that allow for powerful analysis of the RDF data graphs. Since natural philosophers of the early modern period communicated ideas through correspondence creating what is known today as the republic of letters, the digital edition of their correspondence available on different online portals must also be connected to create a virtual republic of letters. This thesis explains a generic e-infrastructure that I have developed to connect the digital editions of other natural philosophers’ correspondence presented on external platforms, such as The Newton Project and the Briefportal Leibniz, to the BEOL platform without centralizing data silos. This infrastructure enables researchers to access and analyze the entire correspondence network through one central platform. This thesis thus suggests a new research method for the history of the science field — the network method — that is based on the network representation of research data. Lastly, this thesis suggests a new technique to visualize RDF-based data as web-based interactive 3D graphs that can be used for any humanities data. The purpose of this tool is to strengthen the suggested network method by giving a real picture of the relational structure of data and allowing researchers to interact with a 3D model of the network resources.
Advisors:Rosenthaler, Lukas and Iliffe, Robert and Lauer, Gerhard
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Fakultär assoziierte Institutionen > Digital Humanities Lab > Imaging software/databases (Rosenthaler)
UniBasel Contributors:Alassi, Sepideh and Rosenthaler, Lukas and Lauer, Gerhard
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:13787
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:304
Identification Number:
  • urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-bau-diss137876
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 09:56
Deposited On:19 Feb 2021 07:44

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