A research environment has been developed within the research project on the Sphera of Sacrobosco. Its cornerstone is a database that is fully represented in RDF (Resource Description Framework) with an ontology-based approach compatible with the concept reference model (CRM) that has been developed in the context of museums and libraries. This database can be traditionally queried by the human reader using HTML-based front-ends while also exposing a machine readable SPARQL-endpoint. The stringent use of normed data for persons and place names allows this database to be directly connected to such external resources as gazetteers and encyclopedic websites.
This data can be used directly to create structural networks of authors or publishers, which then can be analyzed with network tools. These structural networks can help to find central actors in the process of spreading the knowledge connected to the Sphera. Digital tools enable the transformation of semantically encoded data in RDF into formats suitable for network analysis with tools like Gephi or Cytoscape and more advanced mathematical network analysis.