Date:March 25, 2014

Linked Open Data for Cultural Heritage Institutions

This group paper surveys the landscape of linked open data projects in cultural heritage. Traditionally, researchers evaluate linked open data projects using the five star method proposed by Tim Berners-Lee. We found this method to be lacking when evaluating how cultural heritage institutions develop linked, open datasets and ways to use linked data to enhance user experience. Building on the five-star method, we developed a six-stage life cycle model to describe both dataset development and dataset usage. We use this framework to describe and evaluate fifteen cultural heritage projects. Based on this evaluation, we conclude that, although many projects that use linked open data remain in preliminary stages of development, there is great potential for innovative applications that will enable richer discovery and encourage reuse.

Poster: Linked Open Data for Cultural Heritage Institutions

Methods: Project methodology included a literature review of existing linked open data research and an evaluation of current projects in development at cultural heritage institutions. We evauated each project against a set of dimensions including affiliation, mission, intended audience, knowlege organization data model, vocabulary and technology platform, user interface, search and discovery tools, data shareability, (ie. availability of an API), sustainability (i.e., digital preservation, documentation, or available code), project leadership, funding sources, and level of collaboration. Each team member selected three qualifying cultural heritage projects to place within a six-stage life-cycle developed by the authors to illustrate the maturity of each project. The project deliverables included a poster, a PowerPoint presentation, and a research report.

This was a group project with six team members. I researched and wrote about the history of linked open data and evaluated three projects: the Australian War Memorial, Deutsche National Bibliotek and EU Screen. I made the initiatial proposal to present existing cultural heritage projects on a maturity scale, or lifecycle. I created the presentation slides on the three projects that I evaluated. This Summer, along with three of the original authors, I revised the paper for submission to the Association for Computing Machinery’s SIG-DOC conference.

This project satisfies the Research learning objective. It entailed a thorough analysis of existing literature, history and practices in linked open data, an evaluation of existing cultural heritage projects and the development of an original, linked open data maturity model for cultural heritage institutions. This project was accepted for presentation at the ACM’s 2013 SIG-DOC conference, held on October 29-30, 2013. 

Final Project PaperDownload PDF

Supporting Documentation:

SIG-DOC Website:

SIG-DOC Submission:


Class Presentation: