Getting Ready – presenting data in a usable way

The CANAAN project wants to use the combined data of the Amsterdam Museum and the Ecartico dataset in a research tool to query Amsterdam artefact-actor networks.

The Ecartico database holds biographical data concerning painters, engravers, printers, book sellers, gold- and silversmiths and others involved in the ‘cultural industries’ of the Low Countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Amsterdam Museum knows a lot about the objects in its collection, including who created those objects or were portrayed on them. Matching persons over the two datasets will make it possible to answer questions like “what was the religion of painters painting schuttersstukken?”

To make this matching (and linking, if matched) possible, both institutions should present their data in a usable and accessible  way – both for humans and machines. In doing so, other researchers and developers will be able to use the data for their own purposes as well.

Figure 1: things as they should be

Figure 1: things as they should be

In the ideal world, as shown in fig. 1

  • each person, in both datasets, is presented on its own URI
  • each person, in both datasets, is presented in a human-readable (html) and machine-readable (json, rdf) format
  • both datasets have a search-api to find persons by name, date of birth, etc.
  • since URI’s are good at identifying things, the search api’s will let you find persons by URI as well
  • the museum has a search-api for objects as well.

Of course, the ideal world has yet to materialize. In a next post more on the current way persons are presented in the Amsterdam Museum dataset.