Facebook of Venetian Elite (L5.2)


As a major center of commerce and art for centuries, Venice has hosted countless influential individuals and families. Being part of the “Venice Time Machine”, the Facebook of the Venetian Elite wishes to simulate the possible social interactions that could have taken place if a social network would have existed in ancient Venice, in order to show relationships and interactions of that time from today’s point of view.

a real fan page from Facebook
Michelangelo in Facebook

As a requirement of creating a Facebook-style view of the Venetian Elite, the project aims high amounts of data-gathering to be able to extract the relationships of Venetians. In addition a database is needed to store the information, as well as, a website to display it according to the rules of Facebook.

Project Objective & Deliverables

The main goal is to simulate a social network, such as Facebook, in order to portray the relations among the past Venetian remarkable characters, creating a sort of virtual community. The project has therefore two main objectives: First of which is collecting and digitalizing the data regarding the Venetian elite and their relations to each other. The latter, to apply a mark-up similar to Facebook in order to be able to show both individuals and their connections in a contemporary manner.

The expected deliverables at project competition are a database to hold the gathered information and a website to visualize that data in a Facebook-like manner.



1. Data-gathering

DBpedia: DBpedia is a crowd-sourced community effort to extract structured information from Wikipedia and make this information available on the Web. DBpedia allows to ask sophisticated queries against Wikipedia and to link the different data sets on the Web to Wikipedia data. It is our intention to begin our search with a DBpedia query to get basic information regarding known Venetian citizens such as their full names, tenures, parents, spouses, etc.

Narrowing down the interest: According to the information collected from DBpedia, we intend to narrow the information obtained to a list of distinguished families. We believe that this would have an impact on making the network denser in terms of connectedness by allowing us go deeper instead of broader.

Wikipedia: Wikipedia by itself is our second source which we will use to expand data acquired from DBpedia.

Books on Venetian Families: Our deeper research on the subject will mainly focus on the two volumes of the book “Repertorio genealogico delle famiglie confermate nobili e dei titolati nobili essistenti nelle provincie venete”. Additional books on Venetian patricians will also be checked out for further possible details.

2. Database Design

As mentioned earlier, the project requires a database to keep the data in a suitable way not only for the web-site but also for future procedures. It is worth emphasizing that database design should be optimized with respect to the final design of the website.

3. Website Design

Website design is about deciding how to present the gathered-data to make more sense out of it. As it is included in the name of the project, the website will have a design similar to the Facebook’s. Through research data will be examined to determine which features make sense to have in the Facebook simulation-site. For instance, features such as,User profile and groups would be included. There is a possibility to also add messaging and events.

Plan and Milestones

Gantt chart for the project
Gantt chart for the project

References :

1. http://dbpedia.org/About

2. http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriziato_(Venezia)

Appendix :

1. Schröder, Francesco. “Repertorio genealogico delle famiglie confermate nobili e dei titolati nobili essistenti nelle provincie venete”. Volume 1

2. Schröder, Francesco. “Repertorio genealogico delle famiglie confermate nobili e dei titolati nobili essistenti nelle provincie venete”. Volume 2.

3. Raines, Cooptazione, aggregazione e presenza al Maggior Consiglio: le casate del patriziato veneziano, 1297-1797 in Storia di Venezia, I 2003

4. Queller, Donald. The Venetian Patriciate: Reality Versus Myth, 1986.

5. Romano, Dennis. Patricians and Popolani. The Social Foundations of the Venetian Renaissance State, 1987.