World Historical Gazetteer

In May of 2017, WHC Director Dr. Ruth Mostern was awarded a research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Program to build the World-Historical Gazetteer (WHG) whgazetteer.org.  The goal of the project is to create content, standards and the digital infrastructure for a spatially and temporally referenced index of world historical place names and a linked data ecosystem, standards, and user tools to support collaborative digital and data-driven historical scholarship at the global scale.World historians engage in research that is focused upon cross-regional exchanges, connections, and comparisons. The project is attuned to the particular intellectual aspirations of world history and the humanistic fields allied with it. We are developing a system that assists quantitative and empirical historical reasoning at the global scale. World Historical Gazetteer received the 2021 "Best DH Tool or Suite of Tools Award" from Digital Humanities Awards!

WHG version 1 launched in Summer 2020 following three years of development. Version 1 contained a suite of tools that allow users to upload place datasets into a private workspace, augment them by reconciling them against the Getty Thesaurus of Geographical Names and Wikidata, publish them as Linked Open Data, and contribute them for accessioning to the WHG index. By the release of version 1, the WHG indexed 1.8 million modern place references and approximately 60,000 temporally scoped records.

Version 2, supported primarily by the Humanities Cluster of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, debuted in Summer 2021. Version 2 added new features and made several significant improvements to usability including: improved search, faster reconciliation review, improved upload functionality, and faster and more accurate reconciliation to Wikidata. Version 2 also contains a Collections feature where users have the ability to link multiple datasets and to build personal sets of accessioned records based on their interests. Learn more about version 2 here.

The Asian Studies Center at Pitt is supporting development of the Teaching with WHG section of the site and the Place Collection feature introduced in v2.1. The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at Pitt is supporting development of content for that broad region.

WHC Director Ruth Mostern is the Project Director of the World Historical Gazetteer. Karl Grossner is the Technical Director. WHC Digital World History Postdoctoral Fellow Nathan Michalewicz and WHC Research Coordinator Alexandra Straub also serve on the project team. David Ruvolo was the Project Manager from 2017-2020.

To learn more about the World-Historical Gazetter, please visit the WHG page.