Jewish semantics in the Linked Data Semantic Web ... semantics in the Linked Data Semantic Web - Vocabularies ... FRBR and RDA, to linked data best ... The Virtual International Authority File

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  • ECP-2008-DILI-538025

    JUDAICA Europeana

    Jewish semantics in the Linked Data Semantic Web - Vocabularies

    Deliverable number Internal Deliverable ID

    Dissemination level Public

    Delivery date August 2010

    Status 2nd Draft

    Author(s) Dov Winer


    This project is funded under the eContentplus programme1, a multiannual Community programme to make digital content in Europe more accessible, usable and exploitable.

    1 OJ L 79, 24.3.2005, p. 1.

  • Judaica Europeana: Jewish related semantics in the Linked Data Semantic Web


    Table of Contents

    Introduction 3

    Libraries 4

    Metadata 6

    Linked Data Concepts 8

    Vocabularies: RDF Schema and SKOS 11

    Names 15

    Places 18

    Periods and Time 22

    Hubs of Knowledge 24

  • Judaica Europeana: Jewish related semantics in the Linked Data Semantic Web


    1. Introduction

    This paper seeks to outline a program of actions concerning Jewish vocabularies. Its purpose is to enable the integration of content digitised by Judaica Europeana and many other related initiatives in the Web of structured data (Linked Data). This will enable access to Jewish knowledge much enriched by the professional communities that stored Jewish related expertise in databases and vocabularies.

    This paper is structured in the following way:

    We present a few examples derived from existing applications of Linked Data. Then we describe the radical changes that are happening concerning the role of the library catalogue. We follow this with some related observations concerning metadata. This will be followed with short sections introducing the main concepts related to the Linked Data: URIs, RDF, RDF Schema and SKOS for expressing vocabularies.

    The core of this document are the last sections that outline a program of work concerning Jewish semantics. We explore current work concerning Names (Who?), Places (Where?) and Periods/Time (When); each such section conclude with a short outline of a possible Jewish specific program of action in that area. The paper concludes with a review of additional vocabularies that may become hubs of knowledge in the Web of data when properly expressed in the required formats.

    The goal of the Linking Open Data1 2community project is to extend the Web with a data commons by publishing various open data sets as RDF on the Web and by setting RDF links between data items from different data sources. The resulting structured Web can be queried through the SPARQL query language; crawled by RDF search engines, browsed by RDF enabled browsers. These tools feed innovative applications such as mashups that make use of such universal API.

    The Linked Data approach emphasizes the re-use and linkage of richly described resources over the web. This is consonant to the Europeana Data Model ambition of making use of existing resources as well as supporting their enrichment, notably via the establishment of new relations between them. These resources may belong to one Europeana providers information space, to different providerss spaces, or to external spaces used as knowledge references.3

    Readers that are already familiar with the Linked Data concepts may wish to jump directly to the sections dealing with Jewish vocabularies concerning Names, Time, Place and Jewish hubs of knowledge.

    2. Motivation

    The emerging structured Web the Linked Data Semantic Web will soon enable seamless access to an extraordinary extent of Jewish knowledge.

    A researcher working on matters related to the historian Heinrich Graetz will be able to find all the publications he published and the works about him in different languages. The different ways his name is spelled (or misspelled) will not be an impediment due to the use of [controlled Names authorities]; Following the initial query he will be able to reach the manuscripts and other documents related to Graetz in the archive of the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau and are now being digitised by the Jewish

    1 Linked Data

    2 Linking Open Data

    3 Europeana Data Model Primer 05/08/2010

  • Judaica Europeana: Jewish related semantics in the Linked Data Semantic Web


    Historical Institute of Warsaw; these will be seamlessly related to the documents in the Center for Jewish History in New York. Related gazetteers will enable the researcher to receive subtantial information concerning every place that is referred in any standard biography of Graetz.

    A tourist walking in Vilnius or Amsterdam will be able to point the camera of his cellular phone to a building or monument of interest and receive relevant aggregated information superimposed to the actual building. Such information may consist of pictures of the same building or monument in previous time or a multimedia presentation about it; a menu of references concerning the monument as they appear in digitsed books or encyclopedias. To easily find people in the neighborhood that are ready to provide additional information. He will be able to add his own information, like his own pictures from the same monument that will be tagged and immediately join other relevant information.

    Entering a Jewish music digital repositorie will enable the user to get not only samples of the digitised song; links to places where it can be bought or downloaded; the lyrics - but also plenty of information about the composer, the genre, the period, the region in which it was composed, the different performances , reviews, historical background and more. These different pieces of information will come from disparate knowledge sources that have been published as Linked Data and integrated as an specific meshup attending to the that music site. To see such kind of application visit the BBC Music Beta site1 built around Musicbrainz2 metadata and Dbpedia. Music metadata such as related artists are pulled from Musicbrainz and the introductory text for each artists biography is taken from Dbpedia.

    Jewish content holders will adopt what is becoming the dominant Web model, that of Linked Data and in time will publish their databases as RDF. However, in the Jewish realm, the realization of some of the possible scenarios described above depend on having in place support for authoritative replies to Jewish content related queries like: Who? Where? When? and support for well defined Jewish conceptual areas.

    The wider technological developments do not guarantee this kind of support. It may be achieved only through concerted efforts by professional experts in the relevant content areas. The commitment of Jewish libraries, archives, museums, multimedia archives is thus essential. These effort should be aimed at the identification of relevant vocabularies, their normalization and maintenance, their expression in the required formats, their publication in the new structured web and their application in new services that create seamless access to Jewish Knowledge.

    The following paper seeks to review the basic concepts related to the new structured Web; to indicate some developments related to metadata; to outline the challenges that need to be tackled in areas like Names (who); Places (where); Time (when) and survey existing vocabularies that may together serves as hub in the Jewish Web of Knowledge.

    3. Libraries

    Libraries are well aware on the decline of use of their catalogs. Students favor digital resources over the online library catalog because such resources are available at anytime and from anywhere (Marcum, 2006). Calhoun (2006) in a report commissioned by the Library of Congress says "The existing local catalog's market position has eroded to the point where there is real concern for its ability to weather the competition for information seekers' attention" (p. 10). She proposes new uses for new users of the

    1 BBC Music Beta

    2 Musicbrainz

  • Judaica Europeana: Jewish related semantics in the Linked Data Semantic Web


    library catalogue and provide as examples mass digitisation, large scale integration with other systems, universal access.

    Karen Coyle (Coyle, 2010) points out that the new library user no longer visits the physical library as his primary source of information. He seeks and creates information while connected to the global computer network. Libraries need to transform their public catalog from a stand-alone database of bibliographic records to a highly hyperlinked data set that can interact with information resources on the World Wide Web. The library data can then be integrated into the virtual working spaces of the users served by the library. To become part of the dominant information system that is the Web the library catalog should move from being on the Web to being of the Web. The linked data technology that has developed out of the semantic Web provides a path to follow.

    This is an ongoing process. Some implementations are available and there is ongoing work to adequate the main libraries standards, FRBR and RDA, to linked data best practices.


    Libraries have begun to publish critical sections of their cat