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Out and about in Birmingham and London

Monday, March 7th, 2011


On Tuesday 1 March, myelf and Chris Keene, Technical Development Manager for the Library and SALDA project partner attended the start up meeting for the projects running as part of  the JISC Resource Discovery Taskforce, Infrastructure for Resource Discovery (RDTF)

RDTF is due to get a new name soon. I hope they keep the Task Force bit, possibly because it makes me think of G-force from Battle of the planets

The day was very useful for finding out about the other projects running alongside SALDA. Andy McGregor, JISC  Project Manager, impressed upon us the wider implications of the projects, what lessons are can be learnt and the importance of these blogs for disemminating our findings to encourage sharing and collaboration. This is new territory we are in and we are not alone. Common issues of licensing, standards and what vocabularies to use for linked data were discussed during the day, along with an issue that I feel strongly about; what is the added value of linked data for the end user? I hope to answer this question in a future post.


The next day I went along to the first UK Archive Discovery Network (UKAD) Forum at TNA.  A really great day, well put together with three plenary  sessions and then 5 groups of 3 parrell sessions running for 30 minutes each with a space outside the rooms for demonstrations and networking. This lent a really buzzy atmosphere to the day, not least because we were discussing the online future of archives and archive data. I really appreciated the opportunity at the start of the day to stand up and introduce ourselves and say who we would be interested in talking to. This got rid of alot of slidling up to people during the lunch breaka nd starring at their badges. Using this forward approach it was a good day for SALDA as I met with Pete Johnston from Eduserve and LOCAH who will be working on the project with us transforming our EAD into RDFs and spoke to Adrian Stevenson and Jane Stevenson at the LOCAH project, whose templates SALDA will using to create linked data.

It was nice to see a University of Sussex reading list screen shot making its way into a presentation on Linked Data by Richard Wallis from Talis, hopefully we will have two blobs on the linked data cloud soon! The semantic web relies on collections of reliable open data to work so that links can be made and it is exciting to think the our Mass Observation Archive catalogue data could be one of these datasets.

A super report of the day by Bethan Ruddock at the Archives hub is available on their blog here.

SALDA Project – Welcome!

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Welcome to the SALDA project blog. We are very excited to begin this six month JISC funded project to make the records of the Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex available as open Linked Data and establish a methodology that can be used to open up our other archives.

Description and Objectives
The SALDA project proposes to establish a methodology that can be used by the University of Sussex to open up metadata using the Linked Data approach. We will use knowledge and expertise already generated on similar projects  to convert existing EAD currently available on our internal Archival Management System (CALM) into Linked Data that will be enhanced and made available via XML.

The University of Sussex Special Collections comprise over 100 archival collections translating to 65,000 ISAD(G)-compliant records available on the CALM system. We are concentrating on the largest archival collection held within the Library, the Mass Observation Archive, potentially creating up to 23,000 Linked Data records.

The Key steps are:

1. Export the data from our CALM Archival Management System
2. Transform the data in to Linked Data (Eduserv)
3. Further enhance, complement and refine the data (UKOLN)
4. Publish the data as open Linked Data, as XML and we plan to upload it to the Talis Platform.

The Special Collections Department will move to a new historical resource centre known as The Keep in 2013. The Keep will bring together the collections of East Sussex Records Office, Brighton & Hove City and the University Special Collections under one roof. All three institutions currently use separate databases to record their collections meaning that sharing data about collections is problematic and a solution needs to be found. This project will provide invaluable experience in exporting and reusing our metadata and explore the potential of using this approach to open up the information on holdings between institutions and greatly enhance resource discovery.

We will use the same methodology on the SALDA Project to that which is currently being used on the LOCAH Project, which is taking data from the ArchivesHub and making it available as structured Linked Data. We plan to use the Open Data Commons PDDL licence to ensure the data is open and can be used by others. We will document our experiences on this blog and release any code or templates to help others implement a similar approach.

Alongside making these records available, we propose to work with experts experienced in similar Linked Data projects to draw up a methodology that would then be rolled out to enhance the remaining collections held by the University once the project had been completed. This process would become part of our ongoing cataloguing activities ensuring the objective of the project is sustainable.

Our project plan is available on our about page