Slides of the online session on 2022-05-24, 14:00: "Connecting collections – using linked data in libraries, museums and archives"
The digitisation of cultural heritage data and emergence of Linked Data as an interconnection format has created previously unimagined possibilities for humanities researchers and GLAM staff. The semantic web offers a future where computers are able to recognise and create links between objects, texts and other sources, across institutional repositories and collections. Accordingly, many institutions have embraced the semantic web as a mechanism for opening up their databases, connecting collections and creating networks of complex, rich and heterogenous data. However, these same institutions face significant technical and logistical challenges when trying to create Linked Data. The contextualized nature of humanities sources and the need to make allowance for complexity when interpreting them, mean that the rigid data model of the semantic web is not always appropriate for our materials. At the same time, the pandemic has highlighted the need for resilient, interoperable frameworks which allow remote access to data that is both complete and complex.This discussion addresses the difficulties faced by both producers and users of linked data, and the possibilities presented by the sustained linking of GLAM materials. I will also consider the increasingly urgent discussions about how to manage this vast and growing body of data, and the conceptual and practical realities of how objects and data are persistently linked across the web.
Dr Rebecca Kahn is a Marie-Curie REWIRE postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna. Her research focusses on the creation and consumption of linked data in museum collections. After her doctoral studies in Digital Humanities at King’s College, London, she was the Director of Collections at the Pelagios Project, an interdisciplinary project which developed tools and methods for semantically linking historical sources, including archival, library and museum materials.