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July 2010 meetup

Page history last edited by Mia 13 years, 8 months ago

'Linking museums: machine-readable data in cultural heritage'


A meetup for people interested in the applications of linked data, microformats, RDFa (etc) for museums and the cultural heritage sector.


Notes, comments and questions from the evening are being added to Linking Museums write-up.


July 7, 2010, Shooting Star pub, London. 7:30 - 10pm-ish.


The Shooting Star is at 125-129 Middlesex Street, London, E1 7JF (very near Liverpool Street Station).  The 'gallery' is reserved for Mia for 7:30pm. The pub serves food (yay!) and if you're a football World Cup fan, there is a screen in the venue, but we're at the opposite end from it (hmm). 


Add your name to the sign-up sheet if you're coming: Who's coming - July 7, 2010.



There are quite a few events in London that week, like EVA London and That Camp London - feel free to invite others.



I'm trying to cut through the chicken and egg problem - as a museum technologist, I can work towards getting machine-readable data available, but I'm not sure which formats and what data would be most useful for developers who might use it. Without a critical mass of take-up for any one type, the benefits of any one data source are more limited for developers.  But museums seem to want a sense of where the critical mass is going to be so they can build for that.  How do we cut through this and come up with a sensible roadmap?



You! If you're interested in using museum data in mashups but find it difficult to get started or find the data available isn't easily usable; if you have data you want to publish; if you work in a museum and have a data publication problem you'd like help in solving; if you are a cheerleader for your favourite acronym...


Put another way, this event is for you if you're interested in publishing and sharing data about their museums and collections through technologies such as linked data and microformats.



Pretty informal!  I'm not sure how much we can get done but it'd be nice to put faces to names, and maybe start some discussions around the various problems that could be solved and tools that could be created with machine-readable data in cultural heritage.


Possible Topics for Discussion?

Has anyone implemented microformats or RDFa on their website? If so, what formats, which schemas? What uptake/usage of the metadata has been seen? 


RDFa vs microformats? Advantages of each?

Work-of-art microformat. Would a more generic microformat for man-made objects attract more interest?

What data could we potentially link to? Competing resources - e.g. Geonames vs Getty Thes. of Geographic Names.

Any word of progress on the Collections Trust Terminology Server? Potentially a powerful resource to link to.


What could we work towards after the meeting?


  • All contribute to pushing the discussion on a proposed microformat
  • Encourage one manager/supplier of authority data to expose it as free linkable data
  • Each have a trial project on one microformat/RDFa format and report back
  • Try using some already published data and send your feedback to the publishers
  • Offer to help someone get started publishing in a particular format
  • Something even more exciting that you invent on the night...


Mia, post-meeting: the main 'to do' tasks from the meeting seemed to be 'get structured pages for your things' online, and 'keep the discussions going', but I've also highlighted 'a trial project on one microformat/RDFa format and report back' above, because it seems like a good, concrete goal to aim for as a result of the first two points. 

Comments (11)

Paul Rowe said

at 6:24 am on May 24, 2010

Evening of July 7th would be good for me. A quiet pub, plenty of drawing paper. Wifi might be handy if we want to look up examples. I'll add some suggested questions for the meetup when I have a chance.

Bill Roberts said

at 9:37 am on Jun 29, 2010

Remember that microformats and RDFa are not the only options. It depends what kind of structured information we want to add and how we anticipate that being used. A Linked Data style approach is also worth considering - assigning identifiers to real world things, then providing separate HTML and RDF documents about those things

Mia said

at 7:33 pm on Jul 1, 2010

I'm moving my comment down here... I'm interested in hNews, but I know that's fairly specific to a contemporary science news project we're building. But maybe it'd be useful for museum blogs, press pages that release news stories? [Mia]

Mia said

at 7:34 pm on Jul 1, 2010

Thanks for your comment,Bill - that's exactly the kind of question I hope we can discuss at the event.

Joshan Mahmud said

at 12:49 pm on Jul 7, 2010


I'm from the British Museum and we've recently finished a pilot of publishing part of our collections data in RDF and now we've moving to a solution whereby we'll be attempting to publish all of our collections data in RDF (using a specific ontology). We've been working with some Semantic Web domain experts who have given us a lot of info on things we should consider as well as the risks in areas so I'd love to come to this meeting and share with others - I've only just been forwarded this link so is there another day where this could be done as I'm busy this eve...

Mia said

at 1:53 pm on Jul 7, 2010

Hi Joshan,

we can't move tonight's meet up but I'm sure there'll be others, and it sounds like you might be able to bring some useful insight to a later meeting. I'd posted to the MCG mailing list - is there a mailing list or other location where a post about the next meetup would catch your eye?

cheers, Mia

Phill Purdy said

at 2:14 pm on Jul 7, 2010

Hi all,

Afraid I won’t make tonight’s meeting – glad to hear there will be future events and that Rob T will be there re Culture Grid etc.

Re Mias question about the Terminology Bank Service – this is to be a joint offer from Collections Trust and the Vocabulary Management Group and is available as an early Beta at: http://culturegrid.lexaurus.net/, currently containing the UK Archival Thesaurus. The plan is to initially populate it with existing openly available terminologies including those from http://www.collectionstrust.org.uk/spectrum-terminology/termbank .

It would be useful if tonights meeting could consider which vocabs it would most like to see within a Terminology Bank for the cultural sector and ideas for wonderful things people could do with such a Terminology Service. (Rob can should be able to provide further technical details on the ‘Bank’)

Have fun tonight!


Mia said

at 11:51 am on Jul 10, 2010

Hi Phill,

thanks for posting. I think the terminology service question was someone else, would have to look at the page edits to see who. There was some discussion of term lists in the 'Stubbs' breakout group, not sure what the conclusions were.

I'd hope there'd be future events, but I'm certainly not precious about who organises them! And it'd be lovely if people outside of London had similar meetups, would hate it to accidentally be London-ist.

cheers, Mia

Joshan Mahmud said

at 12:19 am on Jul 8, 2010

Hi Mia

I've added myself to the MCG mailing list (probably should have been on it - so hopefully should pick up anything else you send out!)


Mia said

at 11:48 am on Jul 10, 2010

Hi Joshan,

I noticed you posting - welcome to the MCG!

cheers, Mia

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