Get started in 5 steps
Learn how to open, create and manage your project in 5 steps!
In the Geovistory Toolbox, your work is organized in projects. Let us start with this.
Each project is dedicated to a specific research endeavour (a funded research project, a PhD thesis, master thesis or similar).

1. Open a project

Open a project or create a new one by adding a name/title and a description. Choose the main language of your project. It will be your default language.
Step 1: Create a new project
When you enter in Geovistory for the first time, you will already find a project entitled Sandbox. You can use this project to explore the different functionalities of Geovistory.

2. Add your sources

2.1. Choose a specific kind of source object

As a researcher you may want to add a list of sources (archival documents, literature, image references, technical reports, etc.) in order to refer to them and link relevant information to them.
Choose one of the available types of sources:
Use Sections to divide any kind of source, for example a book in chapters or a journal in articles. Learn here how to work with sections.
Step 2.1: To add a source choose between 6 type (Unique Source Object, Serially Produced Source, Publication Exemplar, Serial Work, Web source and Section)

2.2. Complete the different fields

Activate edit-mode to see all available fields.
Depending on the kind of source you have selected, you will now find other fields that you can complete in order to store information on your source object.
For example, you need to name your Unique Source Object (see screenshot below). You may want to choose the official title of a manuscript, a title given in an inventory or your 'own' title in relation to your research.
If you work with Serially Produced Sources, you will use the bibliographical citation field. Copy and paste your citation, in the way you want it to appear. Then, with the controlled vocabullary setting you can specify which style you want to use (such as Oxford, Chicago, APA, etc.).
Geovistory invites users to add a short definition (max. 250 characters) in order to facilitate quick identification and thus the reuse of data.
Step 2.2: Add a source and complete the necessary fields
Hint: Learn here how to add and complete information about your sources.

3. Add your main Entities

In the Geovistory Toolbox, information is stored in entities. Each entity belongs to a class. For example, the person 'Josef Mayer' (an entity) belongs to the class 'person'.
Hint: Learn more about how to work with entities here.
In fact, we have already added our first entities, since the Geovistory Toolbox stores each Source Object as an entity. Congratulations!
When you open a new project, the most common entity classes are already in it. You can easily add a Person, a Geographical Place, a Construction or a Group:
Step 3: Add the kind of entity you need (Person, Geographical Place,, Group, Construction, Event, etc.)
The following table shows you how to add the four most common Entities: Person, Geographical Place, Construction, Group. For more detailed information click here.
Note that the available fields and the way an entity is linked to other entities is different for each entity class.
Activate edit-mode to see all available fields.
Add a Person
Add a Geographical Place
Add a Construction
Add a Group

Add a Person

Find more detailed information here.
In Geovistory a Person must be a real person who lives or is assumed to have lived. You can add a new one or select a person already added by another user.
Two fields are mandatory to add a new Person :
  • a naming (also referred to as "person appellation in language")
  • and a short definition that allows other users (and even you) to identify him/her quickly.
The way you choose to name your entities is up to you. You may need to distinguish name and family name, latin name and english name, surname and official name. Add different types of naming by using the vocabularies settings.
By clicking on Advanced form, you will have access to some Specifics Fields, such as the gender of a person, his/her birth or death, etc. To unlock these additional fields, you have to add new profiles or ask the Geovistory team.
Step 3.1: Create a Person with a naming and a definition, or find an existing one

Add a Geographical Place

Find more detailed information here.
Geographical Place refers to portions of the surface of the Earth, a land, a country, a wood, etc.
As with Person, the Geographical Place has only two mandatory fields :
  • a naming
  • and a short definition that allows other users (and even you) to understand what it is.
You can characterize places by associating them with Geographical Place Types (towns, countries, villages, localities, etc.). In order to do this, the vocabulary must be defined in the controlled vocabularies settings.
By clicking on Advanced form, you will have access to some Specific Fields, such as the georeference. You can also link Geographical Place to other entities such as the place of Birth or Death of a Person or the localization of an object. In order to do this, you have to activate the corresponding profile.
Step 3.2: Create a Geographical Place with a naming, a definition and a type or find an existing one

Add a Construction

Find more detailed information here.
Construction, or built work comprises man-made things such as freestanding buildings or components of buildings, but also all man-made parts of infrastructure (roads, lamp post, dams, etc.)
As with Person, the Construction has only two mandatory fields :
  • a name or address (the address is considered a kind of naming)
  • and a short definition that allows other users (and even you) to understand what it is.
Other fields can be accessed by clicking on Advanced form. This is where you can enter a Geographical location (georeference) or associate the place with people through events. If you cannot find the classes you need, you might need to activate an additional profile.
You can also characterize Built work by associating them with Construction Types (castle, bridge, church, etc.). In order to do this, the vocabulary must be set up in the controlled vocabularies settings.
Step 3.3: Create a Construction with a naming and a definition. You can geolocate your construction in the advanced fields.

Add a Group

Find more detailed information here.
Group comprises any gatherings or organizations in which Person (Actors) are involved.
As with Person, Group has only two mandatory fields :
  • a naming
  • and a short definition that allows other users (and even you) to understand what it is.
You can also characterize Group by associating them with Group Types (association, football club, music group, etc.). In order to do this, the vocabulary must be set up in the Controlled Vocabularies setting.
Other fields can be accessed by clicking on Advanced form. This is where you can enter a membership or localization information. In order to do this, different profiles must be activated.
Step 3.5: Create a Group with a naming, a definition and a type, or find an existing one.
Depending on your research interests, you might want to use other entity classes for storing information (such as information on voyages etc.).
Learn here how to add profiles that will allow you to add other specific classes to your project.

4. Link entities with source objects

If you want to associate an entity with a source, for example to indicate that an individual is mentioned in a manuscript, or that another person is the subject of a book, open the right section by clicking on the angle bracket.
Enable 'edit-mode' to add further linkings.
A section called "Annotations" allows you to easily link your entity to a source. Choose if your entity is the topic of your source or if it is mentioned in a specific page, section or chapter. The linked sources will be listed and you can easily access the source by clicking on it.
Learn here in more detail how to use these functions.

4.2. Reproduce the content of a source

Geovistory offers you the possibility to reproduce the content of a source object and annotate it. In other words, you can include the transcription of a source (copy&paste) and link words of this text directly with your entities. For example, you can link a piece of text with a specific person or geographical place.
In order to do so, Geovistory asks you to reproduce the part of the structure of this source using the "Section" tool. For example, if your source is a "book", then the content you want to reproduce might be the transcribed excerpt of a chapter or the introduction.
In Geovistory, we call these different types of structural elements (such as chapter, pages, folios etc.) "Sections". Add sections to include text in them.
Step 4.2: Add the content of your source by opening the "Section and Digital Reproductions" tab.
The table above shows how to add a section, a text or a table. In all cases, you first have to open your source and click on the three dots to open the right section.

4.3 Add texts and tables to your project

The digitals module on the left allows you to easily add texts and tables.
Add texts and tables to your project.

Alternative way for adding texts and tables (old interface):

Add a Text
Add a Table

Add a Text

Open your source and click on the three points to open the right-part. In the tab "Sections & Digital Reproductions" click again on the three dots next to the Section you have created to add a Text (see screenshot below). Then click on "open" to start editing your text.
Add a text to your Source
You can either just write, or you can copy and paste your text.
Type or to copy & paste your text in the writing environment.

Add a Table

In the tab "Sections & Digital Reproductions" you have to click on the three points and add a Table. A window will open. You just have to drag and drop a .csv or an excel files (.xls) or select one in your Browser.
Drag and drop your csv or excel files
You can now manage your table, edit the columns, filter informations, etc. Learn here how to interact with your table.
You can manage your table by editing it or the columns
Learn here more about digitals and how to use them.

4.4. Annotate your sources with your entities

Geovistory offers you the possibility to annotate sources directly. This allows you to link specific entities (persons or geographical places) directly with a certain word in your text or a cell in your table.
Thus, you can find certain entities as they appear in your texts & tables. It is a simple process to annotate people or places, but it can become even more interesting if your annotate more complex concepts, such as the notion of a ship's voyage.
Example of a text with the word "Embryologe" selected for annotation ('+'-icon in the upper bar next to 'hide annotations').
Learn here how to annotate text and tables.

5. Analysis

Geovistory currently offers three tools that allow you to analyze your project's entities:
  • Table: is the most powerful analysis tool. In a table you can visualize a specific entity class (e.g. Person, Geographical place, Built-work, Group) and associated information (e.g. birth place, birth dates, parents, professions, etc.). Each entity is found in its own column. Learn more about how to use it here.
  • Timeline: if you work with dates, you may want to view your information on a timeline. Learn here how to use it.
  • Map with timeline: if your information is associated with both a place and a date, then it might be interesting to combine a map and a timeline. Learn here how to use this tool.
Step 5: Add an analysis : table, timeline or map with timeline

5.1 Use a Table

The most useful and powerful analysis tool is a table. In order to create a table, you have to chose what entity should be at the core of your table (for example "Persons") and then add associated information (e.g birth place, birth and death dates, localization, etc.).
Add more columns in order to display all information you are interested in. You can also add filters so that only a certain type of information is displayed in the table.
Explore your entities with tables. Add a column to select information associated to the main Entity of your analysis
Learn more about the table function here.

5.2 Use a Timeline

If you work with dates and periods of time (e.g. ship voyages, people being employed at a certain moment etc.), you may want to view your information on a timeline. You can add several lines to be displayed in the left panel. Each line corresponds to an entity class.
Important: You can only select entity classes that have a time dimension.
This example depicts the age distribution in Basel as per census 1860.
Learn more about timelines here.

5.3 Use a map with a timeline

In the same way, you can combine a timeline and a map. This allows you to visualize changes over time in a spatial dimension.
Important, you can only select entity classes that have a spatial dimension. The time dimension is needed if you want to create timelines.
Choose classes with a geographical localization, then create a path to a class you want to visualize. Always start with a class and end with a class.
Use a map with time-line
Learn here how to use maps with timelines.
Now you know the basics of how to use Geovistory. Learn more in the following pages, practice with the Sandbox project and start your own journey!