The KBSET Environment

Overview | KBSET/Letters | Applications | KBSET/NER | Availability | Literature and Presentations


KBSET (Knowledge-Based Support for Scholarly Editing and Text Processing) is an environment that provides support for scholarly editing in two flavors:

KBSET can process declarative application-specific markup that is expressed in LaTeX notation and incorporate large external fact bases that are typically provided in RDF. As an environment, KBSET includes specially developed LaTeX styles and a core system that is written in SWI-Prolog, which is used there in many roles, utilizing that it realizes the potential of Prolog as a unifying language.

KBSET supports scholarly editing in particular in the following respects:

  1. Users with a background in the Humanities can create, review, validate and maintain the source documents of the project. Markup does not enter as a burden but as an essential and interesting aspect of the scientific work. Digital aspects are integrated and not outsourced into separate organizational units.
  2. Print- and hypertext presentations of high quality are easy to generate, in a reproducible way, entirely based on openly published source documents and free software.
  3. Not just “final” presentations are well-supported, but also the tools and intermediate presentations used to develop the edition have high quality.
  4. Object text can be associated with information in ways in ways that are more flexible than in-place markup. For example to maintain text annotations separately from the text sources or to incorporate automatically generated markup.
  5. Techniques such as named entity recognition that represent aspects of the semantics of natural language in fuzzy, imprecise, or incomplete ways can be integrated.
  6. Linking with external fact bases is be supported. These include results of other edition projects as well as large fact bases such as authority files like Gemeinsame Normdatei (GND), domain specific fact bases like GeoNames, or aggregated bases like YAGO and DBpedia.
  7. Data are created more or less explicitly in any edition project. They can be made explicit and accessible in a sustainable way as a result of the project, bridging the way to machine processable semantics, that is, techniques based on computational logics, knowledge representation, knowledge processing, and automated reasoning.

The following paper describes the KBSET environment in more detail:

The following article (in German) includes a presentation of KBSET in the context of current practices and perspectives of the [Digital] Humanities. It shows that key figures of the Enlightenment like Sulzer and Lambert may be viewed as Digital Humanists par excellence.


Example: Sulzer/Veltheim – A Miniature Correspondence Edition

An edition of the four letters comprising the preserved correspondence between Johann Georg Sulzer (1720–1779) and Friedrich August von Veltheim (1709–1775) prepared by Jana Kittelmann. In German. This example is included in the KBSET distribution.




Example: A Draft Edition

A draft edition of Max Stirner: Geschichte der Reaction, Band 1, Berlin 1852. This example is included in the KBSET distribution.




The software components included in the KBSET distribution are released as free software under the GNU General Public License and the documentation under the GNU Free Documentation License. The distribution includes examples to demonstrate the functionality and application of KBSET. They are based on source texts that are either in the public domain or have been published for the first time by the authors of the example documents. All rights in the example documents that go beyond the source texts (i.e., in annotations, markup and other treatments) are retained by their authors.

Latest Version

Obtaining the KBSET Distribution by Cloning its Repository

$ git clone

Obtaining the KBSET Distribution as Archive

Literature and Presentations

Overview | KBSET/Letters | Applications | KBSET/NER | Availability | Literature and Presentations
Christoph Wernhard