Once upon a time….

Once upon a time….
“Humans, presented with pieces of information about
people, put things into the form of a story.” (Edward Ayers)
“even isolated and inert pieces of evidence – a list,
a letter, a map, a picture – can assume new and
unimagined meanings when placed in juxtaposition
with other fragments.” (Edward Ayers)
What we need is a data framework that sits beneath the text,
identifying people, dates and places, and defining
relationships between them and our documentary sources. A
framework that computers could understand and interpret, so
that if they saw something they knew was a placename they
could head off and look for other people associated with that
place. Instead of just presenting our research we’d be creating
a whole series of points of connection, discovery and
aggregation. (Tim Sherratt)
…this is the goal of Linked Data.
Linking Lives
A user interface to show
the value of Linked Data
Event: Birth of Skinner, Beverley, 1938-1999, artist and
Death of Skinner, Beverley, 1938-1999, artist
Type: geo:SpatialThing
Within: http://www.uk-postcodes.com/postcode/SE146NW
• Locah: creating linked data
– knowing what we want to say
– data modelling
– defining relationships
– selecting vocabularies
– deciding on URIs
– creating RDF XML
– linking to external resources
Telling stories
Giving (more) control to the end-user
Placing archives in a global information space
External data forms part of the user interface
– moving away from the silo approach
• Dynamic links to other content
• Extensible
• An exemplar – shows what can be done
Things to think about
Usability and clarity
‘Same as’ links
Persistence of links
Retrieval speeds
Data licensing
Biggest challenge…?
Data Quality
Biggest constraint…?
Lack of Linked Data to link to
Biggest worry…?
Sharing: for people & machines
• Share vocabularies = I’m talking about the
same kind of things as you
• Share identifiers = Yep, I’m talking about the
same person, the same place, the same
subject as you
• Linked Data = a way to help computers fit the
bits together
What happens when institutions and
archives are ‘decentred’ in favour of the
individual? What changes when we
examine the world through the collected
fragments of knowledge that we can
recover about a single person, reorganised
as a biographical narrative, rather than as
part of an archival system?
Tim Hitchcock, ‘Digital Searching and the Re-formulation of Historical
Knowledge’, in Mark Greengrass and Lorna Hughes (eds), The Virtual
Representation of the Past, Ashgate, Farnham, UK, 2008, p. 90.
Jane Stevenson
[email protected]