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Curation and Linked Data

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In April I had an exchange with a couple of colleagues Sue @suelibrarian and Molly @madradish about a conference we have here in Melbourne, Australia, on a biannual basis: VALA (legacy acronym: Victorian Association of Library Automation).  VALA is a digital library and increasingly GLAM conference in Australia where we get to hear about some of the digital development work done.

I’m not sure what the equivalent of an ear worm is, when it comes to ideas, but Molly’s question strikes me as a good session topic and this thought has been niggling away in my mind for quite — some — time.  When I first started tinkering with the idea of what linked open data was going to DO and why any data collecting institutions (such as a GLAM) might DO linked open data – I wrote a paper to get some thoughts down.  Are the GLAMs going to bring a steampunk/neo-Victorian sensibility and aesthetic to Linked Open Data.   

More recently I have had the chance to talk to another colleague Rowan @usyd_dpa about what could be done with some of the “special” collections at University of Sydney Library.

So… I’d like to propose a session on curation and linked data.  A kind of “why are we doing this and who for?” type session.  Many professionals are going to need to make the case to funders and decision-makers to commit resources to transforming data into linked open data – and ideally there are useful principles or methods we can talk through to help make those arguments for support, and outcomes that are going to spin people’s wheels.

  • What linked open data project to do and why?
  • What ontologies to use and why?
  • What datasets to integrate and why?
  • Who will benefit from this and why?

I’ve another conundrum to share with brighter minds than mine – and it involves the role of large library catalogues, e.g. national union or national bibliographies, and smaller special or research library catalogues.  Without going into too much detail I am happy to take the punt and say there are roles for both (of course!), but… that may morph into a broader discussion about linked open data ecosystems (is there such a thing and is this another session?).


  1. Patrick Murray-John

    June 11, 2013

    I’m sad that I won’t be able to attend, but I love this idea. I see it as bridging the machine and human sides of LoD collection, dispersal, and usefulness. This avenue can produce some tangible utility to LoD, maybe even producing ideas for a full-on website and/or application that fosters individual curating the LOD-LAM landscape.

  2. Profile photo of Ingrid Mason

    Ingrid Mason

    June 12, 2013

    Hey Patrick, thanks for the comment. There’s a “craftiness” to this that I find interesting when I get slightly overawed by machine learning etc that can be done and realising there’s this vast realm of the unknown. New possibilities are exciting to contemplate, long held notions about value propositions, i.e. who or what gets the benefit, help to keep me counterbalanced. I think it was Tim Sherratt @wragge who reminded me about the “broad tent” of the digital humanities and that along with machine processing “big data” there is space for crafters and makers working with “small data”. Hurrah for diversity and testing new methodologies, data aggregations and potential researchers/users out! Today Rowan Brownlee and I had the privilege of talking with Cristina Patuelli and Matt Miller about the Linked Jazz project they’re doing at the Pratt Institute. We spoke a little about the need for careful and manual processes to build foundational data layers (maybe even machine learning) and curated and open annotation. Staying tuned and offering feedback like this is great. You’ll be with us in heart and mind and that is nice to know. Cheers, Ingrid

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