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An open source tool to share data from Europe’s libraries and museums

The ALIADA project is developing a tool that will allow libraries, archives and museums to automatically publish and link the content they host.

The treasures of Europe’s rich history are carefully documented and stored in our many libraries, archives and museums. However, although our history is intricately interconnected, our repositories don’t necessarily have the technology to effectively link and share their content. Museums and libraries often have their own data codification and representation methods which means that the information may not accessible to web search engines and to other institutions. The EU-funded ALIADA ('Automatic publication under LInked DAta Paradigm of library Data') project is developing a tool that will overcome the limitations of current library or collection management software when sharing content, allowing libraries, archives and museums to automatically publish and link the content they host. Just one year into the project, the team has already launched ALIADA 1.0 to the open source community. The tool will automatise the publication in the Linked Open Data cloud of datasets which are hosted by library and/or museum management software. Accompanied by guidelines and a user manual, the ALIADA 1.0 tool is available for developers to expand and customise it, taking into account the usability specifications of their particular company, institution or user. The tool consists of four major components: a user interface; a conversion component which converts the selected contents to a RDF dataset; a linking component which connects the generated RDF dataset to a predefined list of external open datasets published in the Linked Open Data Cloud, and a publication component which publishes the validated RDF dataset in the Linked Open Data Cloud. The term ‘Linked Data’ refers to a set of best practices to publish and link data on the web. The advantages of using ‘Linked Open Data’, according to the ALIADA project team, are that it is based on the current Internet architecture, it is machine readable, easily connected and represents data, as opposed to text only. This means that using Linked Open Data enriches data, solves problems more easily and enables the expression of difficult relationships. Usability has been a key aspect for the team throughout the development process because many of the final users in libraries and museums – including documentalists, curators and librarians – will have little or no experience in Linked Data technologies and processes. It is also important that the tool meets the standards in libraries and museums (including MARC, FRBF, FRAD and LIDO) and the semantic web (including RDF and SPARQL). The aim is to ultimately allow libraries and museums to achieve content interoperability, allowing for the reuse of public data, opening it to the world in a format that can be processed by machines and linked to other existing datasets. ALIADA, which means ally in Spanish, is a multilingual project with English, Spanish, Italian and Hungarian being the initial languages covered. The name is significant because the tool is designed to be an ‘ally’ to help museums and libraries to get content that can interoperate with others onto the web to add value to their collections and resources. Apart from the ALIADA 1.0 tool, a forum is also available for librarians, curators or IT developers interested in being part of the ALIADA community. For more information, please visit: ALIADA



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