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Using linked open data to enhance the discoverability, functionality and impact of Emblematica Online

Timothy W. Cole (Mathematics Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA)
Myung-Ja K. Han (Mathematics Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA)
Maria Janina Sarol (Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA)
Monika Biel (Herzog August Library, Wolfenbuttel, Germany)
David Maus (Herzog August Library, Wolfenbuttel, Germany)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 20 March 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

Early Modern emblem books are primary sources for scholars studying the European Renaissance. Linked Open Data (LOD) is an approach for organizing and modeling information in a data-centric manner compatible with the emerging Semantic Web. The purpose of this paper is to examine ways in which LOD methods can be applied to facilitate emblem resource discovery, better reveal the structure and connectedness of digitized emblem resources, and enhance scholar interactions with digitized emblem resources.

Design/methodology/approach

This research encompasses an analysis of the existing XML-based Spine (emblem-specific) metadata schema; the design of a new, domain-specific, Resource Description Framework compatible ontology; the mapping and transformation of metadata from Spine to both the new ontology and (separately) to the pre-existing Schema.org ontology; and the (experimental) modification of the Emblematica Online portal as a proof of concept to illustrate enhancements supported by LOD.

Findings

LOD is viable as an approach for facilitating discovery and enhancing the value to scholars of digitized emblem books; however, metadata must first be enriched with additional uniform resource identifiers and the workflow upgrades required to normalize and transform existing emblem metadata are substantial and still to be fully worked out.

Practical implications

The research described demonstrates the feasibility of transforming existing, special collections metadata to LOD. Although considerable work and further study will be required, preliminary findings suggest potential benefits of LOD for both users and libraries.

Originality/value

This research is unique in the context of emblem studies and adds to the emerging body of work examining the application of LOD best practices to library special collections.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (USA) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (the German Research Foundation). The conclusions, opinions, and findings expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the sponsors of this research.

Citation

Cole, T.W., Han, M.-J.K., Janina Sarol, M., Biel, M. and Maus, D. (2017), "Using linked open data to enhance the discoverability, functionality and impact of Emblematica Online", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 159-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-11-2016-0126

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited