Upcoming Webinar

Exploring the Challenges & Uses of Linked Open Data for Digitized Special Collections

June 6, 2017, 2:00 PM EDT



Professor Timothy W. Cole

Alex Olivia Kinnaman

Deren Kudeki

Over the last 2 decades, libraries and cultural heritage institutions have expended resources digitizing their important special collections. However, many of the resulting digital collections exist on the Web today only as standalone silos of content, not well connected to related resources. This impedes discovery and limits available context when using this content. The core hypothesis of this University of Illinois research project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is that a Linked Open Data (LOD) approach to description could improve the connectedness of many digitized special collections. To begin testing this hypothesis, we are experimenting with LOD for 2 collections of theater-related images and 1 text-based collection pertaining to the life and works of Marcel Proust (~20,000 items in all).

In this webinar we describe outcomes to date, highlighting a few unique challenges in transforming legacy metadata into the more RDF-compatible semantics of schema.org and the automated and manual means we used to identify and add links to item descriptions. We also will show how we have leveraged LOD to enhance end-user views of resource descriptions. Now when a user views images in context, JavaScript on the page reads embedded LOD and retrieves additional links and descriptions in real-time from external LOD services. Mustache.js templates are then used to dynamically add this related information to the HTML display providing additional context and clickable links regarding the people (authors, actors, directors, etc.), venues (theaters), plays and performances related to each digitized image. Project Website: http://publish.illinois.edu/linkedspcollections/