Aug 7 2012

Transition in Progress –>

Well, there are plenty of things afoot and underway, if all a little behind schedule. But the new site is now up and running, though there are still quite a few bugs to work out. Please bear with me as I’m working on adding much more community functionality by switching over to Buddypress on a multisite version of WordPress, thanks to the suggestion of our friends over at THATCamp HQ.

The good news is that the new setup will allow us to archive previous Summit sites (like this one, which is long overdue), as well as support groups and local sites as well. So for instance, if someone wanted to create for local organizing (wink wink @elewhitworth), it should be a fairly straight-forward process to set that up and can all be hosted under the lodlam domain. There’s lots of other good news too, I’m sure.

So, from here on out, please head over to to add new posts. I’ll keep this site live as an archive, but all posts have been copied over to the new site, so there won’t be any more new posts here.

Aug 6 2012

Dork Shorts and other videos from LODLAM Summit 2011

A look back…

I know it’s taken more than a year to get these all together, but thanks to Uldis Bojars we’ve been able to salvage about half of the Dork Shorts, or two minute talks, that were given at the LODLAM Summit in 2011.  The video is a little bit shaky and even pulling them together was an afterthought.  But it captures the excitement of this meeting and the various experts that were coming together.  Also, thanks to David Weinberger, we’ve got some great interviews with a couple of participants.  I’ve added all of the videos into a Youtube Channel for your reference.

Jul 17 2012

LODLAM posse for THATCamp Brisbane?

Digital humanities plotting by Anna Gerber and others has blossomed into the organisation of a THATCamp in sunny Brisvegas, Queensland, Australia. We’ve been keen to have a LODLAM event in any state or territory in Australia that can rustle up space and interest in talking about and testing our linked open data.

So, for anyone in Brisbane on Saturday 25th August 2012, that would like to be a part of the THATCamp action, it is entirely possible that linked open data enthusiasts from the GLAM sector will appear to thrash out their ideas and test some of their code. Queensland GLAMMers and Digital Humanities folk that want to be a part of that, get in touch: thatcampbne [at] gmail [dot] com

Jul 10 2012

Coming Soon…

We’re working on a new website which will be finished soon and will live at as we get closer to taking the hyphen out of LODLAM and announce plans for a 2013 Summit. Stay tuned…

Jun 19 2012

Melbourne LOD-LAM gets serious

Well, that’s perhaps an overstatement, but we are pursuing the ‘practical and pragmatic applications’ approach and running two follow-up sessions to our April event:

Tuesday 31st July
Venue: TBC
1.30 – 3.00pm – Place names
3.30 – 5.00pm – ANZAC material

People already working with linked data in each area will be present, and the sessions will canvas opportunities to work together – with regards to linked-open-data proper and linked data more generally. It will be relevant for both technical and programming staff.

RSVP: 16th July : Eleanor Whitworth, Senior Arts Officer/Content Curator, Culture Victoria (Monday – Wednesday) email: eleanor[dot]whitworth[at]dpc[dot]vic[dot]gov[dot]au or @elewhitworth

Jun 18 2012

Linked Data: A Personal View from Jerry Persons

This piece inaugurates an occasional series by or about linked data practitioners that will be published here on and cross-posted on the Digital Library Federation blog. The first post in the series is a personal reflection on the linked data landscape written by Jerry Persons, technology analyst at Knowledge Motifs, Chief Information Architect emeritus at Stanford, and author of the CLIR-commissioned Literature survey in support of Stanford Linked Data Workshop.

The ecosystem in which both library-generated metadata and vendor-generated search environments are players has changed radically with unprecedented swiftness:

Richard Wallis (late of Talis, now OCLC) recently summarized these trends in terms of web-wide factors in his post A data 7th wave approaching:

With the advent of many data associated advances, variously labelled Big Data, Social Networking, Open Data, Cloud Services, Linked Data, Microformats, Microdata, Semantic Web, Enterprise Data, it is now venturing beyond those closed systems into the wider world.

Well this is nothing new, you might say, these trends have been around for a while – why does this constitute the seventh wave of which you foretell?


It is precisely because these trends have been around for a while, and are starting to mature and influence each other, that they are building to form something really significant ….

Indeed, for those in pursuit of a broader-than-library take on what’s going on in the web-wide world of structured data, one should take advantage of Richard’s experience including a deep understanding of libraries as a member the Talis library systems group and spanning the company’s evolution toward its present-day provision of Kasabi, “a startup business spun out from and backed by Talis. Our aim is to unlock the value in the World’s data by enabling new business models for producers and consumers of structured data at all scales.” Among his posts and presentations worth close review are those that can be had at his Data Liberate site, for example:

  • Create data not records
  • Libraries through the linked data telescope
  • Who will be mostly right – Wikidata,

My own views on the potential benefits to be had from a rapidly evolving web that is increasingly dominated by well-structured and well-curated data were shaped in large part by exposure to the vision, concepts, and people involved in a set of antecedents to the current flurry of activity and developments. The thread leads from a turn of the century piece written by Danny Hillis, through his Applied Minds and Metaweb companies, leading to Freebase and John Giannandrea, and onward from there to the recent Wall Street Journal interview with Amit Singhal and the subsequent discussions surrounding Knowledge Graph and things not strings:

Hillis: With the knowledge web, humanity’s accumulated store of information will become more accessible, more manageable, and more useful. Anyone who wants to learn will be able to find the best and the most meaningful explanations of what they want to know. Anyone with something to teach will have a way to reach those who want to learn. Teachers will move beyond their present role as dispensers of information and become guides, mentors, facilitators, and authors. The knowledge web will make us all smarter. The knowledge web is an idea whose time has come. Hillis, W. Daniel. “Aristotle”: (The knowledge web), 2000, published in The Edge (138) in 2004.

Freebase: A new company founded by a longtime technologist is setting out to create a vast public database intended to be read by computers rather than people, paving the way for a more automated Internet in which machines will routinely share information. Markoff, John. Start-up aims for database to automate web searching. NYT (9 March 2007).

Giannandrea: Freebase is an open database of the world’s information, built by a global community and free for anyone to query, contribute to, and build applications on. … Part of what makes this open database unique is that it spans domains, but requires that a particular topic exist only once in Freebase. Thus freebase is an identity database with a user contributed schema which spans multiple domains. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger may appear in a movie database as an actor, a political database as a governor, and in a bodybuilder database as Mr. Universe. In Freebase, however, there is only one topic for Arnold Schwarzenegger that brings all these facets together. The unified topic is a single reconciled identity, which makes it easier to find and contribute information about the linked world we live in. Giannandrea, John. Freebase: an open, writable database of the world’s information (a one-hour lecture delivered in October 2008).

[Amit Singhal] said in a recent interview that the search engine [Google] will better match search queries with a database containing hundreds of millions of “entities”—people, places and things—which the company has quietly amassed in the past two years. Semantic search can help associate different words with one another. Efrati, Mair. Google gives search a refresh. WSJ (15 March 2012).

Knowledge Graph: [W]e’re focused on comprehensive breadth and depth. It currently contains more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects. And it’s tuned based on what people search for, and what we find out on the web. Britt, Phil. Google unveils knowledge graph. (24 May 2012).

Taken together, these and other suggestive developments in the linked-data ecosystem represent a confluence of tools, data, and methodologies of sufficient potential to warrant efforts that pursue:

new opportunities for addressing the traditional and prevailing problems of too many silos of content, too many disparate modes of search and access, and too little precision and too much ambiguity in search results in the extreme environments of academic information resources intended to support and report on the research and teaching in large research enterprises. Keller, Michael A. Linked data: a way out of the information chaos and toward the semantic web. EDUCAUSE Review 42 (4): July/August 2011.

Such opportunities are inextricably bound up with linked-data’s potential for (1) reshaping the infrastructure that supports web-wide management of information, knowledge, and data, and for (2) fueling unprecedented improvements in the efficiency and efficacy of navigation and discovery capabilities. It’s long past being a matter of if, now it’s about when—the game that’s afoot is about finding roles that libraries can play in aiding and abetting the creation of an increasingly dense tapestry of facts and links woven together from the flows of intellectual resources that the global academic community consumes and produces in the course of its research, teaching, and learning.

May 27 2012

LOD-LAM Zotero group sponsored by DLF

I’d like to call your attention to the LOD-LAM Zotero Group, sponsored by the Digital Library Federation, and invite you to check it out, bookmark it and/or get the RSS feed, and most importantly, contribute to it! (click on “Group Library” to see everything)

This is an online bibliography/webliography of linked data resources (articles, blog posts, tutorials and books, videos and podcasts, events, standards, sites for vocabularies, projects, data sources, software and web-based tools, and more…) of interest to the library, archive and museum community.

Chelcie Rowell of the DLF is overseeing the progress of this site, and a group from the ALA Linked Library Data Interest Group (Laura Akerman, Nicole Colovos, Kevin Clair, Corey Harper and Karen Coyle) have been working to seed it with some useful material (just a taste – we know there’s more out there!), and figure out some basic organization to start.

Is your linked-data-related article, project, tutorial, vocabulary, or the software you’re using or wrote in there?  If not, please add it!

Particularly valuable would be information about tools (web-based and software), including your own notes about your experience if you’re using something.    Keeping up with the “good stuff” is more than one individual or even a small group could manage, but we hope that this can become a “go to” site for  information of particular interest and usefulness to us, and it will be, if we can all share.

Much like a wiki, anybody can see, but to contribute, you do have to have to create a login (and join the Group).  Use of the Zotero client or plugin isn’t required, but recommended.  When you find something useful on the web, it’s easy to grab it and add it.  Nicole and the group prepared a guide for Zotero Group newbies:

If you have thoughts or experience problems, we want to hear from you and have set up an email address to contact:

Spread the word and the information.

Laura Akerman

Apr 23 2012

Melbourne LODLAM event

On April 17th apx 35 people from a range of sectors, including memory organisations, tertiary institutions and government departments gathered at the Melbourne Museum. It was a lively session and in keeping with the focus on “practical and pragmatic applications and opportunities for sectors to work together” concluded with agreement to continue discussions, working on two LODLAM projects: Victorian place names and World War 1.

Lightning talks by Mia Ridge, Peter Neish (Victorian parliamentary Library), Conal Tuohy (HuNI), Helen Morgan (eResearch, University of Melbourne) and Adam Bell (Australian War Memorial) got the ball rolling. A spontaneous Melbourne-San Francisco-Skype-in with Jon Voss and Simon Sherrin started the general discussion.

A detailed write-up from notes taken by myself and Ely Wallis is now up at Culture Victoria.

Big thanks go to Mia Ridge, Ely Wallis and Ingrid Mason for their insights and planning for what will continue to be an active space…  With, we anticipate, more muffins…

Muffin remnants

Melbourne LODLAM muffin remnants

Apr 12 2012

Linked Open Data at Museums and the Web

I’m excited to say that this year’s Museums and the Web features four published papers on Linked Open Data as well as a workshop for getting your hands dirty with data.

My paper, Radically Open Cultural Heritage Data on the Web is kind of a wrap-up of the year’s work promoting LODLAM, examining our goals (which included making Linked Open Data a topic of conversation at global conferences–win!) and methodologies, as well as the road ahead.

Sharing cultural heritage the linked open data way – everyone’s invited
Johan Oomen, Marieke van Erp, Lotte Belice Baltussen, The Netherlands

Using an RDF Data Pipeline to Implement Cross Collection Search
David Henry, USA

Linking European Television Heritage
Nikolaos Simou, Vassilis Tzouvaras, Nasos Drosopoulos, Jean-Pierre EVAIN, Johan Oomen, Marco Rendina, Italy

Carlos Arroyo, Australia (with hat tip to Seth van Hooland and

Apr 12 2012

Radically Open Cultural Heritage Data at SXSW Interactive 2012

SXSW logoI had the privilege of attending the annual South by South-west Interactive, Film and Music conference (SXSW) a few weeks ago in Austin, Texas.    I was there as part of the ‘Radically Open Cultural Heritage Data on the Web’ Interactive panel session, along with our fellow LODLAMers, Jon Voss, Julie Allinson from the University of York digital library, and Rachel Frick from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). We were well chuffed that picked up on it as one of ’22 SXSW Panels You Can’t Up This Year’.

I’ve written about our session and a few of the other sessions over the UK Discovery blog for those who wanting the full lowdown.