Open data in the arts and humanities

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Talk on open data in arts and humanities research given at DARIAH workshop: "Linked Data and the Architecture of the World Wide Web: Guiding principles for a Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities", on 24th November 2010.


  • 1. Open data in thearts and humanitiesJonathan / @jwygOpen Knowledge Foundation / @okfn
  • 2. What?Why?How?
  • 3. What?
  • 4. open data?
  • 5. data :any information published instructured, machine readable form
  • 6. For example?Biographical dataLibrary/archive catalogue dataJournal index dataEncyclopedia dataDictionary/thesaurus dataGeospatial/temporal dataData on correspondence and so on
  • 7. open :free for anyone to reuse for anypurpose without restriction(see
  • 8. From legal uncertainty...
  • 9. to legal clarity.
  • 10. Why?
  • 11. How might open data be of valuein arts and humanities disciplines?
  • 12. What do we mean byarts and humanities?
  • 13. No single common thread(only family resemblances)
  • 14. How can digital technologies aidresearch in the arts and humanities?
  • 15. Researchers are clever, computers are stupid
  • 16. Digital tools enable us to do some things better...
  • 17. but many things will be done as they were before.
  • 18. What kinds of things couldnew digital tools help us to do better?
  • 19. Enabling large scale collaboration
  • 20. Mapping research/researchers
  • 21. For example:What works have been publishedabout Giambattista Basile?What was published on Schopenhauerin English between 1900-1950?
  • 22. Bibliographica:Wordpress for bibliographies and so on
  • 23. Mapping citations / influence
  • 24. Who read X?Who wrote about X?Who had a copy of a work by X?Who read someone who read X?Who borrowed a book by X?Who attended lectures on X?
  • 25. Historical data:Library lending dataOld lecture listsExhibition cataloguesConcert programmesExtracting data from nachlsse
  • 26. Computer assisted analysis(text mining, contextualisation, ...)
  • 27. For example:Uses of the word democracy inBoston from 1800-1900? thWhich 19 century writers allude toEdward Young in relation to debatesabout authorship and originality?(And where do they mention him?)
  • 28. For example:When does Shakepeare first use theword football?Where does Nietzsche allude to anyof Emersons essays?
  • 29. Scholarship that was previously possible but very laborious
  • 30. Representing complex information in more intuitive ways
  • 31. For example:Graphing relations/citations(e.g. who wrote to who?)Information on maps/timelines(e.g. reception history of Faust)
  • 32. And so on ...
  • 33. Opening up data enables peopleto do interesting things with it
  • 34. Two metaphors:Raw material Infrastructure (soil...) (pipes, electricity, ...)
  • 35. How?
  • 36. 1. Use and promote open licenses
  • 37. For example:CC-BYCC-BY-SACC0OdbLPDDL and so on(see
  • 38. 2. Make open datasets easy to find
  • 39. E.g. register open data on
  • 40. 3. Encourage others to open up
  • 41. 4. Listen to what researchers want
  • 42. 5. Tell people about your ideas
  • 43. Join our open-humanitiesmailing list:
  • 44. jonathan.gray@okfn.org
  • 45. Image credits Pierre Vivants Traffic Light Tree by William Warby The Green Light by Ted Percival Plumbing bits by cmurtaugh Compost 06/08/2007 by suavehouse113 Get excited and make things by Matt Jones These slides are available under a Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike License. While most images are available under an open license (see above) some are used for illustrative purposes and rights may be reserved by their creators.


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