FPO: Sources

In FPO, primary historical sources and the references to them in factoids are represented by the simple set of classes shown below (and taken from the general FPO structure diagram shown here):


In factoid prosopography, primary historical sources provide the place from where factoids are derived, and FPO’s :Source is the class where information about these historical sources is stored. Note the additional class :SourceCitation shown below :Source in this diagram.  Factoids are derived from an interpretation of statements made in historical sources.  A :SourceCitation is linked to a factoid and is the mechanism provided to record both (i) in what source, and (ii) where in that source, the assertion can be found.

Historical Sources often have rich bibliographic information associated with them, and if the DDH/CCH factoid projects are any guide, :Source is likely to be subclassed into a project-specfic class to provide a place where that richer bibliographic data can be recorded.


  • :Source: the central class in this category, represents historical sources that are consulted in the prosopography.
  • FRBRSource: is a subclass of :Source and provides a mechanism using OWL/RDFS mechanisms to make a connection between an FPO Source and an entity in the FRBRoo schema which represents that source. FRBR provides four somewhat different meanings for a book/source, and we believe that its Expression is the best match for what the historians in the DDH/CCH factoid projects have meant by “historical primary source”.
  • :SourceCitation: is the class that links an assertion / factoid to its primary source, and provides the mechanism to record in what source (through its relationship :fromSource, shown in the diagram above), and where in the source (through its property :hasPlaceInSource – described below), the assertion can be found.


In addition to the information shown in the figure above, the FPO Ontology defines properties for these classes. In CCH/DDH/KCL projects all properties listed here can only occur once for any particular :Source or :SourceCitation.

  • :hasSourceName (for :Source): A text string that contains the name that the project has chosen to use to refer to a particular historical source, e.g. “Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People”
  • :hasSourceID (for :Source): A text string that provides a very short user-recognisable string that acts as a Source ID. In PASE, for example, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People was given the ID “Bede.HE”.
  • :hasBibliographicEntry (for :Source): A full bibliographic entry for a source. This would be oriented towards FRBR’s Expression kind of reference, and would be oriented towards the source’s particular edition when an edited edition of a source had been consulted.
  • :hasPlaceInSource (for :SourceCitation): a text string that specifies a spot in a source; perhaps a page number or a section number. With an historical source, the provision through this attribute of a record for a place in the source provides a way to focus the spot in the source from which the factoid has come more precisely. To understand what this is for, think of a conventional Harvard-style source reference (e.g. (Smith 2014, 201)). The :hasPlaceInSource property would be the page number, “201”, part of the reference.

CCH/DDH/KCL factoid prosopographies developed very rich sets of further attributes to handle bibliographic data about their sources, and this would have been a good place to adopt a recognised standard for bibliographic data such as the standards emerging from, for instance, the Library of Congress’s Bibliographic Framework Initiative.


The following relationship properties are defined in FPO for :Source and :SourceCitation:

  • :fromSource (from :SourceCitation to :Source): specifies which source is being cited in the citation. In CCH/DDH’s factoid prosopographies, there is only one instance of this allowed for each :SourceCitation.
  • :sourcedFrom (from :Assertion to :SourceCitation): links from the Assertions/Factoids to a relevant SourceCitation: the particular spot in a source where a particular assertion / factoid comes from. In CCH/DDH’s factoid prosopographies, there is only one instance of this allowed for each :Assertion / :Factoid.