Humanities Web of Data Workshop at Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School (DHOxSS)

This workshop introduced the concepts and technologies behind the Semantic Web and showed how attendees can publish their research so that it is available as Linked Data, using distinct but interwoven models to represent services, data collections, workflows, and  so to simplify the rapid development of integrated applications to explore specific findings, the domain of an application. Topics covered included: the RDF format; modelling your data and publishing to the web; querying RDF data using SPARQL; choosing and designing vocabularies and ontologies; and more.

The work of a digital humanities researcher is informed by the possibilities offered in digital resources: in their ever increasing number and their distribution and access through the Internet.

In this context, the Semantic Web can be seen as a framework which enables radical publication, sharing, and linking of data for, and by, researchers.

The programme began with a motivating example from the field of music, based on the organisers own research. This demonstrated how Semantic Web technologies can be practically applied to the Humanities, and serves as a useful case through which attendees were introduced to the technical underpinnings of such systems during the first half of the week. In the latter half of the week this knowledge was applied to real world examples introduced by invited speakers, with two specific Semantic Web deployments framing tutorials and discussion on Thursday and Friday: the British Museum, and CLAROS.

The workshop comprised of a series of lectures and tutorials including:

·      Scaling Digital Humanities on (and utilising) the Web

·      The Semantic Web and Why You Should Care

·      Practical Linked Data for Digital Humanities Researchers

◦      RDF Basics

◦      Linked Data

◦      Triplestores and SPARQL

◦      Ontology design

·      Worked examples of Semantic Web systems and application for Digital Humanities:

◦      The British Museum Semantic Web Collection

◦      CLAROS: The world of art on the semantic web

◦      Music Information Retrieval: How country is my country?

·      Solutions surgery: how could the Semantic Web aid your research?