Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Webinar - Using Authority Data to Enhance the Semantic Web

Back From the Endangered List: Using Authority Data to Enhance the Semantic Web

Register now for NISO’s February webinar: “Back From the Endangered List:

Using Authority Data to Enhance the Semantic Web,” to be held on February 9 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (Eastern).


Librarian use of authority files dates back to Callimachus and the Great Library of Alexandria around 300 BC. With the evolution of powerful computerized searching and retrieval systems, authority data appears to some to have outlived its usefulness. However, the Semantic Web provides an opportunity to use authority data to enable computers to search, aggregate, and combine information on the Web. Join this webinar to learn about the amazing services that can result when the rich data included in name authority files, and other standardized vocabularies are linked via the Semantic Web.


. Linking Things and the Virtual International Authority File – Jeff Young, Software Architect, OCLC Research Is “NISO” a “controlled access point” or an “organization”? Because different authority agencies disagree on the literal form of the “controlled access point,” the basis for associating them in VIAF must be through a more intuitive concept like “organization,” “person”, “place,” etc. Linked Data encourages us to assign HTTP URIs to these conceptualized resources and to describe them with existing ontologies (e.g. FOAF, SKOS, OWL) to further enhance their reuse outside the library community. With these Linked Data tools, VIAF and its contributors illustrate the potential interplay between centralized and decentralized interoperability of authority information.

. Authorities as Linked Data Hubs – Richard Wallis, Technology Evangelist, Talis As the Web of Data appears, hubs of information are naturally forming. The Linked Data approach to publishing information is one of reuse and linking to others. It is no surprise therefore that DBpedia [Linked Data derived from Wikipedia] has become one of the most linked to hubs–not because of the authority of Wikipedia data, but because of the reusable identifiers used to link it. In the same way governments are becoming hubs for identifying schools, locations, departments, laws, etc., the library community has the opportunity to become the respected source for identifiers in this world. What we collectively refer to as authorities have the potential [if published openly, simply, and soon] to become hubs for the linking of library and non-library information across the Web of Data.

However, just encoding what we have in RDF and pushing it out there may not be enough. Applying Linked Data principles and approaching it from the data consumers’ point of view will help the continuation of the centuries old library mission into a Semantic Web future.

. The Getty Vocabularies: ‘Non-Authoritarian’ Authority Files for Art, Architecture, and Material Culture – Murtha Baca, Head, Digital Art History Access For more than two decades, the Getty Vocabulary Program, a unit of the Getty Research Institute (GRI), has been building electronic thesauri containing structured terminology for art, architecture, decorative arts and other material culture, archival materials, visual surrogates, and bibliographic materials. Compliant with international standards, the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AATR), Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGNR), and Union List of Artist Names (ULANR) provide authoritative information for catalogers and researchers, and can be used to enhance search and retrieval in databases and Web sites. The Getty Vocabularies grow through contributions from their constituent communities. The Getty Vocabulary Program is a participant in VIAF. The newest Getty vocabulary, currently in development, is CONAT (Cultural Objects Name Authority), a structured vocabulary containing authority records for cultural works, including architecture and movable works such as paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, textiles, ceramics, furniture, other visual media such as frescoes and architectural sculpture, performance art, archaeological artifacts, and various functional objects that are from the realm of material culture and of the type collected by museums.


Registration is per site (defined as access for one computer). NISO and NASIG members may register at a discounted rate. A student discount is also available. Can’t make it on the scheduled date or time? Registrants receive access to the recorded version for one year, which can be viewed at your convenience.

For more information or to register, visit the event webpage: