Time Capsule is a research platform that allows researchers from various fields to explore complex interrelated data, by highlighting their temporal, geographical and informational context.

As a case study, a number of datasets on cultural heritage related to the history of pharmacy and botany were used. In it's current form, Time Capsule links and displays data from the following datasets, provided by various project partners:

  • Three datasets with data on samples or specimens from plants:
    • RADAR (Cultural Heritage Agency): metadata on almost all archeobotanical samples from the Netherlands
    • BRAHMS (Naturalis Biodiversity Center): metadata on the complete botanical collection
    • Economic Botany Database (Naturalis Biodiversity Center): metadata on dried specimens from the collections of Naturalis, annotated with their economic use as for example medicine, food, or dye
  • Two linguistic datasets:
    • Chronologisch Woordenboek (Meertens Instituut): data on the origin of Dutch words
    • Snippendaalcatalogus (Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam): data on name variants and botanical information based on the first catalogue of the hortus by Johannes Snippendaal in 1646
  • One historical dataset:
    • Boekhouder Generaal Batavia (Huygens/ING): data on the circulation of commodities as found in the administration of the Bookkeeper-General of the Dutch East India Company in Batavia in de 18th century
  • DBpedia

The Farmaceutisch-Historische Thesaurus, provided by Stichting Farmaceutisch Erfgoed, serves as a backbone for the ontology.

For data sources integration, Time Capsule uses a custom made ontology, whereupon the data is mapped following a linked-data approach. For the resulting RDF datastore, not only a SPARQL end-point is provided, but also a graphhical interface, so that users may explore the knowledge base content by applying both exploratory search, as well as a user-friendly natural language wizard for ad hoc SPARQL queries.