Final Project Proposal – Elizabeth Frank

Name: Elizabeth Frank
My group has chosen this topic: Linked Open Data
My interest in this topic: Linked Open Data involves a methodology of sharing and structuring data to make them useful for everyone on the world wide web. If we live in the information society, as has been said, then this is where the information is, and through linked open data, everyone can access it. Tim Berners-Lee said in his TED talk:

  • All kinds of conceptual things, they have names now that start with HTTP.
  • If I take one of these HTTP names and I look it up [..] I will get back some data in a standard format which is kind of useful data that somebody might like to know about that thing, about that event.
  • When I get back that information it’s not just got somebody’s height and weight and when they were born, it’s got relationships. And when it has relationships, whenever it expresses a relationship then the other thing that it’s related to is given one of those names that starts with HTTP.
  • The “How things are related” angle is what compelled me to choose this topic.

    Some initial resources

    Eichenlaub, N. (2013). Checking in with google Books, hathitrust, and the dpla. Computers in Libraries, 33(9), 4-9.

    Florian, B., Martin, K. & Florian, B. (R. & Martin, K. (S. W. C. (eds.) (2012). Linked Open Data: The Essentials – A Quick Start Guide for Decision Makers. edition mono/monochrom, Vienna, Austria.

    Howard, J. (2013). Digital library of america, 7-month-old superaggregator. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

    Mitchell, E. T. (2013). Building blocks of linked open data in libraries. Library Technology Reports, 49(5), 11-25, 2.

    Yi, E. (2012) Inside the Quest to Put the World’s Libraries Online, Esther Yi, The Atlantic, July 2012.

    Based on my preliminary research, I have chosen to focus on:
    I will write a paper on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) as an example of linked open data in action. The DPLA is (stated in its planning statement) “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources [drawn from] libraries, universities, archives and museums . . .” Specifically, I would like to focus on the trend of “Memory Projects” such as “Queens Memory” and how they use linked open source data, if indeed they do. At the Metro conference last January, I saw a presenter from Queens Memory showing artifacts from one man’s collection of memorabilia from the 1939 World’s Fair. If I find that they don’t, then I will focus on cultural heritage projects and, ideally, include a section on one case study.

    I have a lifelong interest in history, and believe that this project ties in with one I did in my Information Professions class regarding corporate archivists. How are historical artifacts handled when not handled by historians? We all have a need to know where we came from; hence, the recent enthusiasm in tracing genealogical roots that have sparked several television shows.

    I’m uncertain about the unresolved questions regarding my topic, although I imagine it will be “how to catalogue the internet” as we read in this week’s reading, how to engage (and control) the contributions of “citizen librarians” (such as the man who contributed his World’s Fair Memorabilia to Queens Memory) and, as always, copyright. Can DPLA remain as altruistic as its mission statement? Where is the money coming from? Will funding affect integrity? Can momentum be maintained?


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