Linked Open Data in Museums: What It Is, the Value, and Your Organization’s Strategy

Duane Degler, Design for Context, USA, Neal Johnson, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, USA, Joan Cobb, The J. Paul Getty Trust, USA

This workshop is an example-rich, practical introduction to Linked [Open] Data (LOD) for museums, as well as libraries and archives (known increasingly as “LODLAM”). Linked Data address internal and external needs for cultural heritage information – supporting data integration and application-building internally, as well as collaboration and sharing of data outside your institution. Many new projects and sites have appeared over the past few years, and it is now becoming a “best practice” way to manage a wide range of museum data.

Strategic and tactical conversations need to be practical, realistic in their expectations, and focused on successfully meeting user and organizational expectations. Commitment comes from how you want to use it to further your mission. Your conversations within your institutions can be supported with the numerous examples we will look at during the workshop, including collection data management, provenance, exhibitions, image management/sharing, integrating archival resources, searching/browsing, and cross-institution collaborative applications. This includes an introduction to the Getty Vocabularies by its project manager, which helps you understand both the experience of publishing legacy data on the web as linked data, and how you can use this free linked open data resource.

The workshop offers opportunities for small group exercises on the fit between linked data and your museum’s needs. At the end of the workshop, you will understand the implications and opportunities. You will have a practical understanding to talk with your colleagues about using linked data to deliver value. You will gain numerous examples, frameworks for thinking about different kinds of data, and ideas for how to apply it to common museum projects/applications.

This workshop is in collaboration with LODLAM in Practice, an international community-based effort to teach practical implementations of Linked Open Data in libraries, archives, and museums.

Small sample of the rapidly growing community and resources:
Getty AAT Vocabulary available as Linked Open Data. (note: this will be covered by the Getty Project Manager within the workshop content)
The Getty Vocabularies: Introduction and editorial perspective. Patricia Harpring
Managing Editor, Getty Vocabulary Program. Revised September 2014.
IIIF, the International Image Interoperability Framework, with an increasing number of publicly available examples provided.
LODLAM, Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives and Museums. (includes links and videos of current applications/examples).
American Art Collaborative. Resources related to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s conversion of collection data to LOD. Resource site for Mellon- and IMLS-funded multi-institution federated data initiative. This includes numerous web
Linked Data Survey results – Who’s doing it. OCLC international library survey announcement for 2015 and results from 2014 (July-August 2014). with links to six articles.
Digital Meets Culture. Italian online news site with a growing collection of linked data stories.
Art Tracks: Visualizing the Stories and Lifespan of an Artwork. Tracy Berg-Fulton, David Newbury, Travis Snyder. Museums & the Web 2015.
Semantic Web Technologies Applied to Numismatic Collections. Gruber, et al, Oct 2014.
SNAC: Social Networks and Archival Context. A growing collection of archival descriptions from a range of institutions.
Planning for Serendipity. Dan Cohen (2014), DPLA blog.
ResearchSpace semantic data application.
CIDOC-CRM – Conceptual reference model for cultural heritage documentation.
Europeana aggregated cultural data initiative.
OCLC Innovation Lab projects in linked data. See also the WorldCat search facility for American art.
Library of Congress Authorities linked data services.
BIBFRAME, the library community’s proposed evolution of the MARC standard for bibliographic references (initiated by Library of Congress). Recently announced that key elements of this ontology will be incorporated into ( for support by major search vendors when indexing cultural content.
Omeka content management system (supports RDF semantic LOD format exporting). Recent IMLS grant to extend Omeka and Open Exhibits applications. CHNM at GMU.
NDSA: National Agenda for Digital Stewardship.

Presenters’ previous talks on DH or semantic/data topics:
Getty Vocabularies: Why LOD? Why Now? A brief history of the project. Joan Cobb, Sept 2014.
How and when to use LOD? Starting your institution’s conversations about Linked (Open) Data (2015).
Emerging Tastes: Considering How Preferences Evolve. PATCH (workshop on Personalized Access to Cultural Heritage (2015).
Now what? Creating Innovative LODLAM Sites and Apps (2014)
Design Concepts & Lessons from Linked Data for the Digital Humanities (2014)
Design Meets Data (Linked, Open, Heterogeneous) (2014)
Designing for Information Objects: The Library, Archive & Museum (LAM) Information Ecosystem for Now and for the Future (2013) and a summary blog post written by Hillel Arnold of the Rockefeller Archive:
Enhancement Ecosystems: Enriching Structured Content with User Tagging and Annotation (2013)