Canadian Workshop on Linked Open Data for Cultural Scholarship (19w2276)


(University of Alberta)

Susan Brown (University of Guelph)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Canadian Workshop on Linked Open Data for Cultural Scholarship" workshop in Banff from September 13, 2019 to September 15, 2019.

Human brains work through a vast web of interconnections, but the web that researchers increasingly use to understand human culture and history is not nearly as dense. Worse, most internet links simply state where content is. Semantic Web technologies make those links meaningful, by representing not only pointers to content but also properties of such content, expressed as assertions (aka, triples), with proper semantics and encoded using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) data format. RDF data is meaningful to humans and also to machines and has given rise to the ever increasing Linked Open Data (LOD) movement. The open data Web is a smarter, “semantic” web able to process huge quantities of such triples according to categories and relationships expressed in associated ontologies, and to inter-relate content regardless of where those triples are located. The highly networked structure of linked data enables inference, new forms of search, analysis, and visualization, and flexibility of approach which are imperative to raise the level of abstraction needed for humans to consume such data and for the humanities research community.

The workshop brings together renowned experts from the Digital Humanities and from Computing Science to discuss how LOD can transform research in the humanities in Canada. The workshop also kickstarts the Linked Infrastructure for Networked Cultural Scholarship (LINCS) project, a 3-year international, multi-institution and interdisciplinary project aimed at providing a national data store with an emphasis on Canadian content, and an LOD tool suite for its use and ongoing expansion, that will propel Canada to the lead in mobilizing cultural datasets for basic and translational humanities research. The data, which will be made available to anyone in the world, includes early Canadian publications; digitized Canadian texts; library, archival, and virtual museum content; scholarly publications; and constellations of resources amassed by scholars in diverse domains. To understand Canadian cultural heritage, we must connect it to other times, places, and people that made Canada what it is today. This workshop will kickstart the mobilization of open datasets for Canadian cultural research.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).