Linked Art: Networking Digital Collections and Scholarship

University of Oxford AHRC

Linked Art: Networking Digital Collections and Scholarship (project reference AH/S012419/1) is a Research Network funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through their programme for UK-US Collaboration for Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions.

Project Participants

Project Supported Activities

Project Abstract

Linked.Art: Networking Digital Collections and Scholarship brings together researchers and experts from some of the leading art museums in the UK and US. In a spirit of technological cooperation and collaboration they will work to unlock the data within their collections and provide a transformative foundation for digital scholarship and public access. Partners include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Smithsonian Institution, The V&A, The National Gallery of Art (US), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Frick Collection, and the American Numismatics Society.

The network is proposed and supported by an experienced team at the University of Oxford, which itself embodies the multidisciplinary approach of the wider network, building on a partnership between the e-Research Centre, the Centre for Digital Scholarship, and the University's Gardens Libraries and Museums: the Ashmolean Museum, the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum, the Museum of the History of Science, the Museum of Natural History, and the Pitt Rivers Museum.

At the core of the network's activities is the Linked.Art model, initially developed at the J Paul Getty Trust. The model provides a template by which digital records describing works of art can be organised and structured in a consistent manner, so that information from different cultural heritage institutions can be compared and combined. At a technical level, this allows digital connections to be made between collections on a global scale using Linked Data, which in turn can enables computational algorithms to assist complex scholarly investigations - as well as providing for more straightforward voyages of discovery!

Experts in the research network will work together to discuss and debate how machines should apply and interpret a standardised set of concepts and relationships - such as what the work of art is, what it depicts, when it was created, sold (or stolen) and exhibited. They will consult with academics to ensure the relevance and utility of the Linked.Art model which will underpins this 'web of data', so providing for a step change in opportunities for digital art history and provenance scholarship.

About the AHRC

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training, in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.

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