Harnessing a Linked-Open World: Integrating Cross-Discipline Content to Support Digital Humanities

Tasked with supporting the emerging trends in academia, the Visual Resources Center at Vanderbilt University is exploring how to support the increasing interest in cross-discipline research through harnessing the power of linked-open data (LOD). At the core of this mission is developing a searchable database of images and media that can be easily linked through location-based or keyword searches. While the cataloging of this varied content is impossible for any single center, LOD provides the conduit for harnessing the power and possibilities of diverse collections around the world.

Imagine having the ability to pull existing work records from CONA or Built Work Registry into your cataloging workflow and the time that is saved. Patrons could search your collections as well as any number of museums and institutions from a single search box. Accuracy of cataloging would increase by having the Getty and Library of Congress Vocabularies searched directly each time you add an Agent. What would research be like if all these possibilities were available from one database? That is the potential of an LOD system. While content provides access to their collections via LOD triples, there are no tools in place for integrating these various repositories of objects into a cataloging or search tool.

In his presentation this week at the Visual Resources Association’s annual conference in Denver, Colorado, Chris Strasbaugh, director of the Visual Resources Center, will explore the next stage of development of tools that have the potential to interact and share metadata and media among institutions: Harnessing a Linked-Open World: Integrating Cross-Discipline Content to Support Digital Humanities With these tools still in the planning stage, Strasbaugh will highlight many of the problems that arise as well as the potential for harnessing such a powerful tool. As the digital humanities transform the way faculty, students, and researchers are solving problems once thought specific to their discipline, LOD is providing visual resources professionals a way of matching these needs with diverse and ever-changing content.

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