Over the last decade, there has been a proliferation of initiatives by GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) using Linked Open Data technologies to enhance access to their collections. From nation-wide collaborative campaigns, such as the Program for Cooperative Cataloging Wikidata Pilot, to paradigm-shifting implementations, such as the transition of the Library of Congress cataloging operations to a hybrid MARC and BIBFRAME environment, the growing availability of tools, ontologies and platforms are finally allowing cultural heritage institutions to explore the promises of linked data.
Librarians and archivists see the potential in Wikidata as a pragmatic solution for managing local authorities in a linked data environment; Wikidata is increasingly used for research and increasingly integrated into software applications, including Library Service Platforms like Alma/Primo.
The UT Linked Data Learning Group, an informal community of practice at The University of Texas at Austin, composed of professional staff working in archives and libraries, convenes monthly to address the need for pragmatic ways to integrate linked data into routine workflows. We collaborate to build knowledge, skills, and institutional support for linked data initiatives in our respective institutions.
In 2022, group efforts focused on building knowledge and skills around Wikidata. Some members of the UT Linked Data Learning Group have been exploring and using Wikidata in various projects in recent years. This group aspired to leverage those members’ knowledge and skills to train other staff through a hands-on peer learning experience, with intentions to expand awareness and surface opportunities for integrating Wikidata into existing and future work. To that end, group members designed and delivered a 2-day virtual Wikidata Workshop on January 12-13, 2023.
- Staff familiarity with Wikidata and Linked Data
- Enhanced linked data ecosystem relevant to Texas Cultural Heritage
- Expanded impact of Handbook of Texas diversification efforts (adding & enhancing Wikidata entries about Texas women)
Building a community of practice – campus representation among 36 registrants:
- UT Libraries Content Management unit
- UT Libraries Access Systems unit
- UT Libraries Branch & Borrower Services unit
- UT Libraries Stewardship department
- UT Libraries Alexander Architectural Archives
- UT Libraries Benson Latin American Collection
- Harry Ransom Center
- Briscoe Center for American History
- Tarlton Law Library
- Texas Digital Library
- School of Information
Hands-on peer learning to build new skills:
- 21 active editors contributed to Wikidata throughout the workshop. Some continued with contributions after the workshop.
- 31 new items created in Wikidata for entries represented in the Handbook of Texas
- 74 existing Wikidata items updated with data from the Handbook of Texas
- 835 new references for Wikidata statements citing the Handbook of Texas as a source
Individuals involved in designing and delivering the workshop: Melanie Cofield, Head of Access Systems, University of Texas Libraries (UTL); Brenna Edwards, Manager for Digital Archives, Harry Ransom Center; Paloma Graciani-Picardo, Metadata Librarian and Head, Printed & Published Media, Harry Ransom Center; Katie Pierce Meyer, Head of Architectural Collections, UTL; Michael Shensky, Head of Research Data Services, UTL; Yogita Sharma, Alexander Architectural Archives team member, UTL; and Elliot Williams, former DPLA Metadata Aggregation Outreach Coordinator for Texas Digital Library.