SNAP gender proposal

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Gabriel Bodard

Jun 18, 2021, 6:18:15 AM6/18/21
Dear all,

The gender WG that came out of the Linked Pasts 6 SNAP discussions, comprised of Tom Gheldof, Scott Smith and myself, have come up with the following proposal for the addition of gender to the SNAP cookbook:

The SNAP Cookbook will add the recommendation to record the sex/gender of persons in the source prosopographical/person-data using the foaf:gender property – “The gender of this Agent (typically but not necessarily 'male' or 'female').” ¹

“Male” and “female” are the only defined values, but any other string may also be used as the value of this property as required by individual projects, and there is no need to enumerate such values.

This proposal satisfies the two starting criteria of this WG: (1) it enables simply and consistently the values “male” and “female” for the majority of (apparently) unambiguous cases in ancient/historical sources; (2) it is inclusive and open-ended in allowing other values.

¹ From the FOAF spec: “Note that FOAF's notion of gender isn't defined biologically or anatomically—this would be tricky since we have a broad notion that applies to all Agents (including robots—e.g. Bender from Futurama is 'male'). As stressed above, FOAF's notion of gender doesn't attempt to encompass the full range of concepts associated with human gender, biology and sexuality. As such it is a (perhaps awkward) compromise between the clinical and the social/psychological. In general, a person will be the best authority on their gender. […] We have tried to be respectful of diversity without attempting to catalogue or enumerate that diversity.”

All feedback welcome.



Dr Gabriel BODARD (he/him)
Reader in Digital Classics

Institute of Classical Studies / Digital Humanities Research Hub
University of London
Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU
T: +44 (0)20 78628752 
Especially at the moment, I may email at odd hours of the day and night/days of the week. I do not ever expect a reply outside of your working hours.
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