Project update July 2019

It’s been a busy spring and early summer. Here’s a report on our collective activities for our Linked Conservation Data Consortium.

Webinar 1 - May 3, 2019

We held our first webinar as an introduction to Linked Data this Spring. Guest speakers included Karen Waldemar and Jay Hoffman of Gallery Systems, Dennis Wuthrich (Farallon Geographics) and Robert Sanderson (Getty Digital), and Dominic Oldman of the British Museum. Each spoke about their projects using linked data or their explorations of linked data as a resource for conservation documentation.

We recorded the webinar. If you’d like to watch it or review it, it’s posted on our website:

Workshop I - Terminology

In early June, we held our first in person meeting with Consortium members and additional participants at Stanford Libraries’ Conservation Lab in Redwood City. Twenty two participants met to look at how terminology is utilized in Linked Data and to evaluate the current state of Glossaries, Thesauri, and Vocabularies used in Conservation.

We were guided in our understanding of the role of Terminology used in Linked Data by Marcia Zeng of Kent State University, Jonathan Ward of the Getty Vocabularies Program, Eleni Tsoulouha from FORTH, and John Graybeal of BioPortal, Stanford School of Medicine. We recorded the presentations and we are in the process of editing content and securing release permissions from the speakers.

Some key takeaways from the Workshop:

  • The Getty Vocabularies, in particular the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) offer extensive, although not complete coverage, for conservation terminology. New services from the Getty team will make it easier to contribute new terms.
  • The suitability of other glossaries and vocabularies for use in Linked Data varies widely from ready (Ligatus) to imminent (RBMS Controlled Vocabularies) to needing significant amount of work.
  • The coverage of conservation terminologies of existing glossaries was also discussed and deemed incomplete. Many of us use terminology that isn’t represented in current glossaries.
  • We considered the value of having different vocabularies aligned, i.e. establishing the matches between the same terms in different vocabularies.
    There are different possibilities for alignment of vocabularies including use of a backbone thesaurus. Through extensive discussion we reviewed options suggested by Marcia Zeng on Friday afternoon. That discussion now informs our thinking for planning ahead.
  • While controlled vocabularies are essential for making conservation documentation searchable at a basic level, the CIDOC-CRM offers the potential of more complex querying. Therefore using vocabularies in combination with the CIDOC-CRM would be beneficial.

Post-workshop we have been reviewing what we discussed and thinking of possible strategies for moving ahead. We will share these in our next update.

Workshop II - Modelling

The next workshop will look at modelling conservation data for linked data. We will be meeting in Central London on September 12 & 13, 2019. Registration information for this workshop has been announced separately - please register here if you have not already:

We need your records! If you have a database or conservation data, we would appreciate you sharing this data with us. This will help us look at different ways to represent conservation linked data. This could be in any format you have available including text documents, spreadsheets, databases, diagrams, measurements, analyses, etc.

Linked.Art symposium

A peer project, Linked Art, also funded in part by the AHRC, is holding a one-day workshop on 1 October 2019, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This workshop will start with presentations about the ongoing work to date with describing artwork using Linked Open Data techniques in the same manner as for Linked Conservation Data. The afternoon will then consist of breakout sessions to discuss use cases, strategic challenges, implementation strategies and real world modeling examples to ensure that everyone can contribute. Both projects are working to ensure that the models developed are consistent in order to avoid incompatibilities between artwork description and conservation science, and thus this workshop may be of interest to you.

Details will be available at in due course.