The Linking Lives project (2011-12) is a follow on from the Locah project (2010-11) that created Linked Data for a sub-set of Archives Hub data. The Locah blog documents the whole process, from the data modelling through to decisions about URIs, external datasets and visualisation work.
The primary aim of Linking Lives is to explore ways to present Linked Data for the benefit of research. The Archives Hub data is rich in information about people and organisations, but many researchers want to access a whole range of data sources in order to get a full perspective for their research. We should recognise that researchers may not just be interested in archives. Indeed, they may not really have thought about using primary source material, but they may be very interested in biographical information, known and unknown connections, events during a person’s lifetime, etc. We want to show that archives can benefit from being presented not in isolation, but as a part of all of the diverse data sources that can be found to create a full biographical picture, and to enable researchers to make connections between people and events to create different narratives.
We will create a new Web interface that presents useful resources relating to individual people, and potentially organisations as well. We will explore various external data sources, assessing their viability and ease of use from both a Linked Data perspective (adding them to our Linked Data output) and a researcher’s perspective (adding them to the user interface).
We have many ideas about what we can do – the possibilities for this type of work are endless – but with limited time and resources we will have to prioritise, test out various options and see what works and what doesn’t and what each option requires to implement.
In addition to the creation of an interface, we want to think about the pressing issues for Linked Data: provenance, trust, authenticity. By creating an interface for researchers, we will be able to gain a greater appreciation of whether this type of approach is effective. We will be evaluating the work, asking researchers to feedback to us, and, of course, we will also be able to see evidence of use of the site through our Web logs.
We’ll be updating you via this blog, and we are very interested in any thoughts that you have about the work, so please do leave comments, or contact us directly.