Improving interoperability using vocabulary linked data
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- Binding, C. & Tudhope, D. Int J Digit Libr (2016) 17: 5. doi:10.1007/s00799-015-0166-y
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The concept of Linked Data has been an emerging theme within the computing and digital heritage areas in recent years. The growth and scale of Linked Data has underlined the need for greater commonality in concept referencing, to avoid local redefinition and duplication of reference resources. Achieving domain-wide agreement on common vocabularies would be an unreasonable expectation; however, datasets often already have local vocabulary resources defined, and so the prospects for large-scale interoperability can be substantially improved by creating alignment links from these local vocabularies out to common external reference resources. The ARIADNE project is undertaking large-scale integration of archaeology dataset metadata records, to create a cross-searchable research repository resource. Key to enabling this cross search will be the ‘subject’ metadata originating from multiple data providers, containing terms from multiple multilingual controlled vocabularies. This paper discusses various aspects of vocabulary mapping. Experience from the previous SENESCHAL project in the publication of controlled vocabularies as Linked Open Data is discussed, emphasizing the importance of unique URI identifiers for vocabulary concepts. There is a need to align legacy indexing data to the uniquely defined concepts and examples are discussed of SENESCHAL data alignment work. A case study for the ARIADNE project presents work on mapping between vocabularies, based on the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus as a central hub and employing an interactive vocabulary mapping tool developed for the project, which generates SKOS mapping relationships in JSON and other formats. The potential use of such vocabulary mappings to assist cross search over archaeological datasets from different countries is illustrated in a pilot experiment. The results demonstrate the enhanced opportunities for interoperability and cross searching that the approach offers.