Linked Data, looking ahead

Europeana has progressively adopted the principles of Linked Data for representing, aggregating, and enriching the metadata it collects from the Cultural Heritage institutions of Europe. Its foundation is the Europeana Data Model (EDM) which enables the representation of links between cultural heritage objects and the entities surrounding them (people, places, concepts, timespans). This vision of a network of metadata has a strong impact on the data aggregation flows designed for Europeana. While we adopted a centralised approach to data aggregation, the Web and its technologies invite us to look at these processes from a different angle. Can Linked Data support innovative metadata aggregation flows, making them less centralised and more flexible? How do Web technologies change our approach to data management?

We attended the Seminar Linked Data in Research and Cultural Heritage organised by DANS last week with these questions in mind.

The first part of the Seminar focussed on research use cases. Ruben Verborgh (Universiteit Gent) provided some recommendations on how we should develop APIs providing access to our data and how we can support a more decentralised approach to data queries which is not limited to aggregation.

Discussing data access also raised questions about the reliability of the data being published on the Web. Nanopublications was presented by Tobias Kuhn (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), as a way to assert the provenance, the semantic integrity and the permanence of research data. Data Quality is another important challenge: the FAIR principles presented by Michel Dumontier (Universiteit Maastricht) provides the framework to evaluate and rate the quality of research data publication services. Those are prerequisites to enable the "Linked Research” approach defined by Sarven Capadisli (University Bonn).

The second part of the seminar explored use cases from the Cultural Heritage domain. We presented the Europeana work towards new approaches for data acquisition at Europeana using technologies such as the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), Sitemaps, and Schema.org . These experimentations are geared towards a new vision of data aggregation which also underlies the approach taken by the Dutch Network for Cultural Heritage presented by Enno Meijers.

Other technologies such as Linked Data Fragments or Memento were presented as ways to improve search, access, and usability of cultural heritage and research data.

All the presentations given at the event are available at https://dans.knaw.nl/en/current/events/seminar-linked-data-in-research-and-cultural-heritage