A 'historical case' of ontology-based data access
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Historical research has steadily been adopting semantic technologies to tackle several recent problems in the field, such as making explicit the semantics contained in the historical sources, formalising them and linking them. Over the last decades, in social sciences and humanities an immense amount of new quantifiable data have been accumulated and made available in interchangeable formats, opening up new possibilities for solving old questions and posing new ones. This paper introduces a web-based platform to ease the access of scholars to historical and cultural data distributed across different data sources. The approach relies on the Ontology-Based Data Access (OBDA) paradigm, where the different datasets are virtually integrated by a conceptual layer (an ontology). This work is focused on investigating the mechanisms and characteristics of the food production and commercial trade system during the Roman Empire.