• Matteo Romanello
  • Michele Pasin

What is HuCit?

HuCit is a formal ontology aimed at the formal representation of humanities citation structures.

The key idea here derives from the fact that while in the sciences a citation is normally represented in the form of a relation between two publications (and often that’s all is needed to generate all sorts of interesting citation network analysis algorithms), in the humanities (and especially in classics) citations are normally treated by scholars with a much higher attention to details.

For example, citations may exhibit a particular style which scholars want to study and classify (for example when faced with ancient citations) to the purpose of better understanding and contextualizing the meaning of a citation. Secondly, in classics we have interesting ‘phenomena’ like canonical citations: these are citations that do not point at any publication in particular, but at an idealized version of a classic text (eg Homer’s Iliad) which is used as a reference systems for all subsequent editions of that text. Canonical citations fundamentally act as a reference to a point in a (textual) coordinate system which is agreed upon by the scholarly community – and thus needs to be followed so to facilitate discussion in that community. So, in a nutshell, the HuCit ontology is providing the representational primitives needed to support computational reasoning about the ‘humanistic’ way of working with citations.

The namespace of the ontology is http://purl.org/net/hucit.

Browse the Ontology

You can view and browse the ontology by using Michele Pasin's Quick and Dirty Ontology browser: try http://demos.michelepasin.org/ontoview/?uri=http://purl.org/net/hucit

Or you can explore it programmatically by using a python module called onto_inspector (code available on bitbucket); try running the following code in order to have a quick look at the classes contained in the ontology:

from onto_inspector import *
onto = OntoInspector("http://purl.org/net/hucit")

Getting Started


  • add class CanonicalCitation as subclass of Citation
  • remove ExpressionFragment