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Challenge Entry: Linked Jazz

Posted by

Voting closed 15 Dec. 2012. 213 Liked

Title: Linked Jazz

Team: Linked Jazz

Short Description

Linked Jazz is a Linked Open Data project that aims to create methods and tools that reveal the dense fabric of relationships connecting the community of jazz artists who typically practice in rich and diverse social networks. Our tools also have the potential to be used in different contexts.

Long Description


Linked Jazz applies Linked Open Data technology to enhance the discovery and visibility of digital cultural heritage materials. We focus on using LOD to represent and visualize the relationships among the densely interconnected network of jazz musicians. To this end, we have developed a series of tools that have the potential to be applied to different use contexts.


What is Linked Jazz?

Linked Jazz is a project investigating the potential of the application of Linked Open Data (LOD) technology to enhance the discovery and visibility of digital cultural heritage materials. More specifically, the project focuses on digital archives of jazz history to expose relationships between musicians and reveal their community’s network. New modes of connecting cultural data and making them searchable as a whole in a seamless discovery environment would open unprecedented opportunities to create new kinds of meaning and elicit new streams of interpretation. The goal of this project is to help uncover meaningful connections between documents and data related to the personal and professional lives of musicians who often practice in rich and diverse social networks.

What tools has Linked Jazz developed?

Linked Jazz has developed the following tools:

  1. Linked Jazz Name Directory Mapping Tool and Curator
  2. Linked Jazz Transcript Analyzer
  3. Linked Jazz 52nd Street
  4. Linked Jazz Visualization Tool

1. The Linked Jazz Name Directory Mapping Tool and Curator were developed to support the creation of a directory of jazz artist personal names that was as extensive and accurate as possible. We started by creating an application which bootstraps names of jazz artists from DBpedia and then maps individuals’ URIs onto the Library of Congress Name Authority File and VIAF to include preferred and alternate names. To further refine the directory resulting from the mapping process, we developed the Curator, a user-friendly interface on the front end of a heavily automated process. This tool allows for human curation of the directory, including the approval, removal, and disambiguation of personal names. As a result, our current Linked Jazz Name Directory consists of 8,725 unique names of jazz musicians as N-Triples

2. The Linked Jazz Transcript Analyzer structures digital archival documents for different purposes and identifies named entities in texts. In the context of the project, we use the Analyzer to upload interview transcripts from open access archives and to identify personal names cited in interview transcripts by leveraging the above-mentioned Linked Jazz Name Directory. The analyzer also employs natural language processing to locate names that are not present in the directory. In these instances, we relate the newly found names to URIs from the name authority files, or, if the name is not found in the authorities, we mint new URIs that we then host on the Linked Jazz namespace. Finally, the analyzer tool breaks interview transcripts down into discrete segments of questions and answers, which are later employed in the Linked Jazz 52nd Street tool.

3. Linked Jazz 52nd Street is a crowdsourcing tool that allows jazz experts and enthusiasts to assist us in deciding what type of relationship two individuals share based on interview transcripts. While we can assume that jazz artists who cite other jazz artists in their interviews have some kind of association with them, this relationship could be anything from close friendship and collaboration to just knowing the other person exists. Linked Jazz 52nd Street addresses this problem. This tool is a web-based application that asks contributors to classify the relationship between two jazz artists according to a menu of options. This assessment is facilitated by presenting the contributor with interview excerpts referencing the individuals in question. Results are tallied and converted into RDF statements that feed the project’s LOD dataset.

4. The Linked Jazz Network Visualization Tool is web-based visualization tool that offers multiple interactive views of the network of jazz musicians based on our LOD dataset. This tool runs on a browser and allows the user to choose different views of the social network and to create a customized dynamic network of selected individuals. It also displays images, videos, and short biographies of jazz musicians within the network.

Why are these tools useful to the greater LOD community?

Although they are still in beta form, the tools we have created are context-agnostic and can be useful in various application environments.

Where does Linked Jazz get its data?

Our work is built upon the foundation of openly accessible archival documents. Libraries, archives, and museums thus play a key role in our efforts. It is the work of these communities to digitize and make available their unique resources that allows Linked Jazz to function.

We currently use openly available interview transcripts from Hamilton College, the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, and Smithsonian Jazz.

Under what license will Linked Jazz release its tools and datasets?

The tools and datasets created as part of Linked Jazz will be released as free and open-source.

How is Linked Jazz funded?

The first phase of the Linked Jazz Project was funded through an OCLC/ALISE Library and Information Science Research grant.



  1. Cindy Wolff

    December 13, 2012

    This has the potential to provide a rich discovery tool for online collections and other resources and will encourage standardization in researching and studying the subject matter on a number of levels. The visualization of relationships among the many artists will certainly fuel creative venues for study.

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