What Wikidata offers Oxford’s GLAM Digital Strategy

As part of Oxford’s GLAM Digital Strategy, there has been some interesting research into audience archetypes. This work examines the many different aims people can have when engaging with our GLAM institutions: from “have fun” to “use collections in teaching”. The technology we use in GLAMs can help users in these goals, or can throw up frustrating barriers, and this strategic work explores how it could help.

Meanwhile, open platforms like Wikipedia continue to be the principal way in which people encounter cultural heritage. A growing “GLAM-Wiki” movement involves cultural institutions and volunteers in sharing collection data and building new tools, with some of those data sets coming from Oxford University. So is there an overlap between Oxford GLAMs’ aspirations and what Wikidata enables? In this post, I draw together some of my previous posts to show Wikidata’s role in advancing some aims mentioned in the document. Continue reading

Build your own Digital Bodleian with IIIF and SPARQL

This post describes a simple way to create a customised, interactive view of a set of documents. Despite my provocative title, it’s not a rival to Digital Bodleian, having far less content and without the personalisation and commenting features. BUT it is 1) customisable in terms of the items it displays and 2) not limited to Oxford collections. So in the long term this technique could be useful to researchers who want to focus on a set of items, such as the manuscripts, printed works or art works of a particular culture or era.

IIIF is the International Image Interoperability Framework (discussed previously). At the time of writing there are around 32,000 objects with IIIF manifests linked from Wikidata, from over 100 GLAM collections. Just under two thousand of these are from Digital Bodleian. The Bodleian items are usually multi-page documents such as manuscripts, incunabula, or other printed books, many of which are in this digital form thanks to the Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project.

With some code in the SPARQL query language, we can request the IIIF manifest for each document we are interested in, and send it to a reader application that will give us a nice interactive interface. Continue reading