Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Linked Data in Archives, Libraries and Museums Meeting, 3rd December 2012

I organised a roundtable meeting of around 35 archivists, curators and Linked Data specialists drawn from the UK cultural sector, who met at King's College on the afternoon of 3 December. The audience included representatives of major institutions such as the British Library, British Museum and Imperial War Museum, from AIM25 partner organisations and from other key players including the Collections Trust, Mimas, JISC, Wikipedia, Historypin and Culture24. Software vendors were represented with Axiell CALM, Adlib and MODES.

The focus of the meeting was working out possible practical 'next steps' on Linked Data in archives, libraries and museums, following the completion of a number of successful projects over the past 18 months, including a clutch of JISC Discovery programme initiatives including Step change and up and coming events including the JISC discovery meeting planned for February and the LODLAM conference in Montreal in summer, 2013. 

The meeting opened with a number of presentations. Gordon McKenna of Collections Trust reviewed Europeana initiatives, including the Linked Heritage project, a recent partner survey that revealed ongoing IP worries in the sector over access to material; and raising the point that partner-publishers arguably need more content to connect to (successful Linked Data is not just about what you publish but what you consume). Understanding user requirements better was also a key concern. 

Andrew Gray, Wikipedian in Residence at the British Library, described the exciting work currently being carried out on authority files and introduced 'Wikidata'  - the new DBpedia. He stressed the value of controlled vocabularies within the ALM sector and the need to demystify the language used in Linked Data projects as this was potentially putting off users.

Adrian Stevenson of Mimas reviewed the groundbreaking work of LOCAH, upon which Step change and other projects have built, and raised a number of important points including the need for more, easier-to-use, tools and the complexities of dealing with duplication, inconsistency and currency in the data. He called for more co-operation among cultural partners (not just ALM practitioners). Adrian rounded up by previewing the new World War One aggregation site, which while not using Linked Data per se, is a good example of a cross-cultural aggregation project where different archives will sometimes demonstrate variable levels of technical knowledge and expertise (for example concerning APIs) and consequently often need active support to make their data available.

Geoff Browell reviewed the Step change and Trenches to Triples projects and their rationale - to encourage the creation of archival Linked Data by making it part of the  normal cataloguing/indexing process, and to do this through the incorporation of editing and publishing tools installed in CALM, Adlib and other archive software commonly used by the archival community. The experience of Cumbria on the Step change project shows that users need to come first and that there is a real demand for the release of key datasets such as Victoria County History as Linked Data.

Bruce Tate of the Institute of Historical Research concuded the first session by previewing the enlarged 'Connected histories' project, whose API will soon be available to consumers, including a new georeferencing tool to map content held in British History Online. He reviewed a recent impact measurement survey, which chimed with several speakers in the meeting, who argued that the community needs more, and better quality, information on how Linked Data might help different audiences including academics and the general public, in order to sell the concept (and secure necessary investment) to internal audiences within institutions (senior management), and to funders like the Research Councils.  

The second half of the meeting comprised three discussions led by leading practitioners.

Nick Stanhope of Historypin led on community engagement and the opportunity afforded by new crowdsourcing tools being developed by Historypin to help crowdsource Linked Data - for example the verification of people, places and their relationships. He stressed the role of storytelling that Linked Data ought to seek to capture. Robert Baxter of Cumbria Archive Service and Step change, argued that most archives need full Google visability for their records as a starting point (which many do not currently have) and reiterated the need to sell Linked Data more effectively within institutions. A more intuitive 'stepping stones' approach is needed to support research discovery (something also raised by Nick Stanhope). Linked Data and other tools ought to support this view of research as exploration or journey. Richard Light reviewed the important development work carried out on the MODES software and the reviews undertaken by CIDOC-CRM. He focused on next steps, raising the questions of whose job it is to publish data and the value of an 'open ended distributed database of cultural history'. Among his recommendations were that:

· Publishers of authorities ought to publish as Linked Data as a matter of course
· Software vendors in the sector should be encouraged to provide some form of "web termlist" facility so that recorders can easily add Linked Data identifiers
· There needs to be agreement on the need for sector-specific guidelines for structuring Linked Data resources (the "mortar" in the "wall"), and ideally a working group actually producing some
· There should be an exploration of how we get "horizontal" resources for the common entity types (people, places, etc.) so we have some concepts/URLs we can actually share
Several key themes emerged from the afternoon:

· Advocacy: The role of case studies and impact assessments to support business cases to support internal and sectoral/funder investment
· Audiences: A renewed focus on the user and consumer of data, their stories and research journey
· Accessibility: to simplify data creation by involving vendors and minimising the variety of editing tools and by the use of agreed master authorities to cut down URI duplication. To create a registry of tools, and develop suitable plug-ins and mediation services but to do so based on sector agreement, not project-by-project. The Mellon-funded Research Base is one such initiative to minmise duplication.
Other themes included:

· Licensing - this still remains a stumbling block due to lack of clarity around Creative Commons licenses - CC0 or CC-BY?
· Training - pratitioners need technical support and training to get the best from Linked Data
· Cultural sector - this should be viewed in the round and not just archives, libraries and museums but the broader sector including galleries and other arts organisations, aggregators and funders. The Arts Council and national film archive community were two such organisations or communities of interest that were cited.

Friday, 30 November 2012

ALiCat - 8 out of 10 archivists...?

ALiCat (Archival Linked-data Cataloguer) is one of the outputs of the step-change project. It is an editing tool for collection level records. Of course AIM25 has its own web based editing tool, the AIM25 archivists are also able to upload EAD and so can use desktop tools such as CALM or  whatever they choose to produce their records. There are other web-based EAD editing tools such as the archivehub's excellent EAD editor

Once the tortured acronym is expanded we can see that ALiCat is an attempt to allow archivists the ability to assign and amend the linkages between the resources and the pertinent terms both within the body of the record and those "access points" that are used for indexing the record.

So initially ALiCat presents a reasonably straight-forward tabbed form for inputing those ISAD(g) elements that archivists know and love.

One is alerted to the ALiCat's USP by the fact that the the index terms are ever present on the page and colour coded according to their type (AIM25 uses a subset of those EAD elements that can be contained within <controlaccess>).

The aim of the broader project was to assign persistent URIs and (the beginnings of) consumable semantic representations for both the AIM25 index terms and the records that they are associated with. Much of this was done retrospectively on the existing data. The role of ALiCat was to provide an interface for tweaking these enhancements (which were not always perfect) and to provide a possible method for archivists to include linked data in their records at the point of creation.

On a technical level ALiCat allowed the developers at ULCC (me) to demonstrate the use of the data.aim25.ac.uk data- service. The architecture of ALiCat is completely reliant on the RESTful output (and input) of data.aim25.ac.uk. ALiCat uses the jQuery javascript framework manage requests to the data.aim25.ac.uk and display the results.

Do archivists want the extra tasks associated with finding and assigning meaning - or at least that measning expressed at the end of a LOD URI? Well there are obvious benefits of recording these links, that I'm sure have been extolled at length in this blog and others. One of the problems that ALiCat is trying to solve is to assimilate this process into the workflow of the archivist in an efficient manner. The method ALiCat uses to try and solve this problem is to provide some useful and well integrated UI tools for suggesting and searching for URIs as the archivist edits.

Terms can be high-lighted by an editor who is then offered the opportunity to look up the term using a selection of LOD data services. The selection is relatively small at the moment but the exercise of consuming data formatted according to common and open formats (XML, JSON), standards (RDF), and vocabularies (including skos, geonames, foaf) should mean that the task of adding more 3rd party look-up services is well within reach.

Of course one of the services used to look-up terms was the data.aim25.ac.uk. This helped us to make sure that search service provided was more or less in line with others in similar fields.

If suitable results could be found the editor is given the opportunity to define a term according to the data structures used by AIM25-UKAT and coin a new URI in the data.aim.ac.uk domain.

In addition to looking up individual terms ALiCat an option is available for editors that will send all the text in a given ISAD(g) element to a suggestion service. This will be triggered when an archivist moves on from editing a given field (losing focus). The suggestion service will return return the text with 'found' terms tagged and highlighted and an associated URI(s) assigned. Some terms may need a few extra steps to disambiguate them, the process is much the same when looking up individual terms. The editor can then select terms by dragging them into the access point list on the right, suggested terms that are not selected are stripped out when saving. The suggestion services available for use are openCalais and the match service from data.aim25.ac.uk (though this lacks the linguistic analysis of openCalais)

Once the record has been saved the linked data URIs are included both in the access points - rendered in the EAD thus:

<persname source="AIM25-UKAT" uri="http://data.aim25.ac.uk/id/person/steinerrudolf1861-1925philosopher">Rudolf Steiner</persname>

Also embedded in the text of the record as RDFa 

in 1913. It had its origins in the spiritual philosophy of <span property="http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/Person" resource="http://data.aim25.ac.uk/id/person/steinerrudolf1861-1925philosopher">Rudolf Steiner</span> (1861-1925).

Friday, 5 October 2012

Lessons learned part 2

5. Usability

The recent JISC programme round-up in Birmingham highlighted a number of potential common problems or issues thrown up by the projects including the practicality of APIs and licensing, but I would add user experience to the list.

Linked Data discussions in the field of libraries, archives and museums have generally, and until recently, been confined to discussion of the complex technical challenges involved in making systems work. This is understandable, but recent discussions such as those held at the 2nd Linked Data in Libraries conference in Edinburgh on 21st September, have focused attention on making Linked Data as comprehensible and usable as possible by the general public.Papers on the consumption of data included introductions to the important work on visualisation currently under way. Linked Data provides the opportunity to move beyond the conventional cataloguing paradigm and its corollary, published lists and tables of data that risk being seen as visually unappealing and stodgy (sometimes unfairly). The complex relationships described in Linked Data don't translate easily to tables but rather lend themselves to the dynamic graphs and representations now becoming common, for example in the display of statistics by national governments.Linked Data provides an opportunity to begin to see data in new ways for library, archive and museum users.

Fundamentally, for Linked Data to be more widely adopted, there need to be a focus on the user experience and demonstrating the value added by combining sources, mapping sources using Linked Data and other practical improvements.

Step change set out to address the usability concern from the outset, but the project has highlighted how much work needs to be done in this area. CALM improvements include the display of relevant external links alongside catalogue records - for example British National Bibliography entries. User testing established that archivists need to exercise discretion in the links they set up and make visible (whatever is happening in the back-end).Links must work (accurate and complete data is returned speedily), but must also be relevant (for example appropriate to the level of record being displayed). Branding starts becoming important to distinguish the origin of data and mitigate a tendency for users to view the data in archives, libraries and museums websites as coming from that one source (that repository). Users will need to start viewing such websites more as they have learned to interrogate a page of Google search returns (as coming from multiple sources). A simple 'Linked Data' logo should be adopted to provide users with a shorthand way of recognising that an additional level of useful information is now available and can be trusted (because an information professional has actively check the source and chosen to link it).

Next steps:

Further user testing is now under way following the release of the Linked Data CALM and its front-end. This will take place in Cumbria involving users of CALM and members of the public familiar with the current archive website. This will drive improvements ready for the release of CALM version 10. Work is under way on creating RDFa and the rendering of selected terms to display useful external content in an attractive way, while not confusing the user with excess information.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Lessons learned

The Step change project has identified a number of useful 'lessons learned' - more will follow in future posts.

1. Data quality

The creation of RDF and linking with similar resources might expose legacy catalogue data as uneven, inadequate or inaccurate. It is likely that many existing catalogues, though adequate for basic online searching, are not up to the task in a Linked Data environment. Date ranges cited in archive catalogues are too broad to identify components of collections; geographical designations insufficiently specific or too fuzzy (does 'London' mean Charing Cross or Croydon, the City or London, Canada? Which units are being described, and are they historically accurate?). The reality is that many catalogues not only predate RDF but the internet, and arguably are not fit for purpose in a Google-enabled search environment, either being inaccessible to search engines or not optimised for web-crawling.

Next steps:

Review of links: while an archivist or librarian might be familiar with their own collections, they are likely to be unfamilar with each other's content, or content from unrelated sources (such as maps, audio-visual material or database content). A real example encountered in Step change was the join-up between archive collection descriptions and bibliographic information using the BNB, where archivists accessing the live service in CALM were often unable to identify, and therefore select for linking, the correct edition of an author's publication to match the relevant archive description by, or about, that author - the service returned ambiguous or difficult-to-interpret bibliographic data. Confronted with practical problems such as these, the professional focus group, which convened to review the markup tool enbedded in CALM, recommended the implementation of an editing stage into CALM to preview possible selections of Linked Data join-ups, in order to minimise potential mistakes and make mark-up more efficient by reducing the necessity for time-consuming corrections post facto.

Knowledge transfer: Furthermore, the linking preview problem clearly exposes the cross-disciplinary knowledge gap that hinders joint-up between collections, except at the level of broad catagories, mapped across domains. Librarians, archivists, museum curators, academic experts and GIS and data curators simply don't know enough about each other's data to make truly informed decisions that will underpin the entity relationship-identification and entity relationship-building that is at the heart of the successful implementation of Linked Data methodologies.

Outcome and next steps: Axiell is considering incorporating an improved editing tool in future releases of CALM. For the mapping component of the project for AIM25, a preview tool has been developed and installed in the Alicat cataloguing utility that uses the Google maps API and Geonames to preview the names of places in micromaps, to allow the archivist to make speedier, more accurate choices of placenames before hitting the 'save' button.

Step change's publication of UKAT as a Linked Data service helps overcome the knowledge gap as it at least provides an agreed subject, place, person and corporate name listing as a common starting point in describing certain entities. What it doesn't do is capture relationships and more work needs to be done to describe subject and domain-specific triples. A publicly-supported triplestore would be an important infrastructure development that would give professionals confidence that Linked Data is here to stay, and to encourage investment to embed in conventional cataloguing. Further steps are necessary, though, not least sponsorship of co-working between different knowledge professionals using cross-domain data - to properly document the challenges of mixing and matching library, archive and museum metadata and linking it with, say, research outputs in the arts and humanities.

The problem of inadequate catalogues is difficult to resolve - cataloguing backlogs are a higher priority than retroconversion and should a catalogue be useful to potential researchers, it is usually deemed adequate. Training should be provided to potential cataloguers to understand better the implications of online search strategies and search engine optimisation (aside from Linked Data), which are probably poorly understood by most archivists. The use of certain agreed vocabularies should be encouraged where these exist as Linked Data and the AIM25-UKAT service helps supply this need for an indexing tool that coincidentally creates RDF without archivists necessarily being aware that this is happening. Some agreement should be reached on other specialist vocabularies, name authorities and place data (including historical places - at least in the UK) to create established hubs. These will potentially be more robust and avoid a fragile cats cradle of APIs prone to network disruption, and serve as trustworthy and authentic points of reference.

2. The value of public-private partnership

Step change was built on a good working relationship with a charity (We are what we do - responsible for Historypin), and a commercial vendor (Axiell). The rationale behind their involvement was that for Linked Data use to become widespread in libraries, archives and museums, it should be made available through the trusted suppliers upon which professionals have come to depend. Good will on both sides and in both cases enabled the team to overcome serious problems with enforced development staff absences. These challenges do point to a potential over-dependency on a relatively small number of experts able to combine knowledge of RDF technologies with knowledge of library, archive and museum data and practices.

The Axiell experience demonstrated, through the focus group and demo at the national CALM user group, and perhaps unexpectedly, that there is substantial interest from the archive community for Linked Data tools and understanding of their utility.

Next steps: Axiell is releasing the embedded Alicat markup tool in CALM version 9.3 and has agreed to further iterations and improvements in future releases. Crucially, these will be timetabled in response to user feedback.  Similar partnerships ought to be explored with other software suppliers, such as Adlib and a meeting is planned with the UK Adlib user community and representatives from Adlib with this in mind.

3. Technical limitations of APIs

Considerable staff time needed to be set aside for dealing with poor quality responses to queries and trying to finetune services. Service reliability is essential if Linked Data approaches are to work. A significant obstacle were local firewalls and authentication protocols and persuading local IT to address these concerns. Change requests for an experimental Linked Data project involving archive catalogues were understandably deemed to be low priority. They also carried a cost implication that needs to be factored into budgets.

Next steps: the cost implications of technical implementation need to be quantified and documentation published to provide institutional IT with context to make informed technical decisions - and persuade managers to authorise expenditure.

4. Value of co-operation

Step change sought to build a number of professional relationships to help leverage goodwill and kickstart a more strategic appreciation of the types of datasets that ought to be output as RDF. So far, datasets have mainly been confied to the library and museum sectors and have been created in an ad hoc way by interested experts, rather than with end users in mind. Discussions were held with The National Archives with a view to using the National Register of Archives dataset as a prototype name authority service. This, and other heavily used TNA services such as the Manorial Documents Register, would prove particularly valuable to the types of local authority archives participating in Step change, with their focus on local history. Test data relating to women in the NRA was released via TNA Labs through Talis' Kasabi service. The withdrawal of support for the service at very short notice provides a salutory lesson that the availability of commercial services cannot be taken for granted. The National Archives  is currently renewing its backend systems and will review the status of the NRA, MDR, Archon and other databases in due course.

Discussions were held with other interested parties, not least in the area those representing geographical data. Testing is due to commence with historical placenames supplied as part of the JISC DEEP project concerning the English Placenames Survey, relating to Cumbria, with a view to correcting locating and mapping catalogues.

As part of the CALM development work, a set of configuration instructions were published by Axiell to enable archivists to execute XSLT tranforms and link to other services as they become available. The British Museum collections were identified as a good contender with which to test out these instructions, on account of the high quality data that they provide and the mutual political benefit of local institutions to be able to demonstrate a link back to a major national collection held in London, and to the BM to be able to demonstrate that museum objects of local significance are being accessed be local people in an intelligent 'Linked Datery' way (for example mapping archaeological finds in the collection and linking with local catalogues or historical society publications). Work on testing this approach is still ongoing and conclusions will be presented in a future post.

Next steps: more cross-sectoral cooperation and scoping is required to think strategically about the kinds of datasets that different audiences need as Linked Data - archivists and different types of users - schools, the general public, genealogists, academics, researchers. Large national datasets that culd benefit from unlocking inclde the Clergy of the Church of England Database, British History Online and the Victoria County History. Testing is due to begin with DEEP data and ongoing with BM data.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Getting Closer to a Map Interface

We're continuing to get closer to a useful geographical interface for visualizing collections.  Using the AIM25-CALM service that Rory's created, we're able to call relevant collections based on time and latitude/longitude filters.  From the programming side, Rory created a test interface to experiment with what kind of data we would get with various calls to the service (fig 1).

[Fig 1]. Early tests of map showing collections returned from AIM25-CALM service.
One of the things that we've been experimenting with is the granularity, which defines how many levels of detail exist for a placename.  For instance: country/province/city/ or country/state/county/city/. These administrative districts vary by country, but helps us lower the signal to noise ratio. As you can see in Figure 2, the level 4 granularity returns more specific information in France than it does in the United Kingdom.

[Fig 2]. Experimenting with maximum granularity yields more results in France than the UK.  
As we move forward with this, we'll be further testing the returns of the service, and refining the user interface to integrate into the Historypin environment.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

CALM User Testing

We organised a focus group session on Thursday 28th June at the Wellcome Trust to review progress so far on adapting the CALM backend to query external services and generate and store RDF. The meeting comprised a mix of CALM archivists and some professionals familiar with cataloguing processes. The main purpose of the meeting was to use a CALM 9.3 development environment to test the robustness of workflows for analysing catalogue and authority data; comment on the quality and sources of external data; and review improvements to the front end - CALMVIEW - that will publish appropriate service links. The CALMVIEW linking between test 9.3 installation and internet could not be configured on the day, as CALMVIEW development is still under way, but a screenshot of the AIM25 link was shown to the participants.

The underlying rationale is that Linked Data processing, sharing and exporting from CALM should become as normal and integral part of cataloguing as is possible - one that does not require an immense investment in additional work or process on the part of archivists, or a detailed, and unrealistically obtainable, technical knowledge of RDF.

The main workflow for analysis of sample Wellcome Library and Cumbria catalogues was tested out using the UKAT service, DBpedia and the BL British National Bibliography, to cover archival, biographical and bibliographical-type material. Key improvements/findings requested were:

  • Improved bulk analysis of records (to speed up processing)
  • Preview of the resolved multiple service returns before embedding (to overcome the problem of poor quality external data being selected or similar-sounding names of people and places being mistakenly chosen, or, for example, to preview and select the correct edition of a multi-edition printed publication)
  • The ability for archivists in the back end to refine and select only certain records for publication (necessary because some services only return dirty data or data strings, which are of little value to researchers)
  • Demarcation of front end presentation of Linked Data links from host catalogue data to minimise confusion as to the origin of the data source  
  • The need for the archive profession to agree to the creation of a priority list of Linked Data services that would be useful for professionals and users, such as the NRA and specialist vocabularies.
The focus group was followed by a meeting of the CALM User Group, at which CALM representatives outlined the release schedule.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

User Interface and First Steps Toward Meshups

When we originally conceptualized how we might begin to automatically incorporate collections data into Historypin, we imagined having the ability to peer into the past and be able to reach into various collections nearby to pull out relevant information.  Ultimately, this is still what we're working toward, but a number of complications prevent this from being feasible at the moment.  But it's worth sharing some of our mockups for how we saw this working.

[Fig 1] This mockup shows the existing experience of historical photos overlaid in Street View on the Historypin site.  We've added a "Dig Deeper" panel on the right which initiates a call to the Step change service based on the date and location.
[Fig 2] This mockup shows the results of the query to the Step change service, including  relevant AIM25 collections that may relate to the date and location referenced.
[Fig 3]  Selecting one of the collections would return information more information about the collection, including the location of the collection and a link to the collection webpage.
There are a number of reasons why this execution is not quite practical yet, though it may be feasible in a future project.  The primary complication here is the signal to noise ratio when in London, as so many of the collections within AIM25 are relevant to London, but the geographic specificity in the collection metadata is often not very detailed on the level of granularity that you get when in Street View.  If we ask for relevant collections within a 1 mile radius of a specific latitude and longitude for instance, we may get back 2-300 collections with little clue as to why this collection is relevant to this location. 

Another problem is what we've been calling the Needle In A Haystack problem, once you get away from London and into other parts of the world.  While the AIM25 collections are largely in Greater London (sorry if I'm getting my terminology wrong--I'm an American!), there are many collections that are relevant to other parts of the world.  Rory has done an amazing job parsing out locations from the collections metadata and using Geonames to resolve these locations.  So we can now see that a particular collection may have relevance to locations in China for instance, which is one of the locations  we've been testing with.  Here, our problem is that we've got just one or two collections and they are geotagged for a small town where someone lived.  So unless we set a really large bounding box, unless you happen to be in Street View in that town, you'd never learn about that collection, even though it has documents pertinent to many locations in China and Tibet.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Development of CALM 9.3: towards a simple linked data indexing tool

One of the key components of our Step change project is the development of Axiell's software products CALM and CALMVIEW to support some linked data functionality. Both applications are widely used within the UK archival community. The current public release of CALM is version 9.2, and I have been supplied with a release of 9.3 to use with our catalogue data in a test environment here.

There has been for some years a structure of keen and active CALM user groups and a formal dialogue between these and Axiell in regard to ongoing refinement and development of these products. Very simply, within the time and resource confines of the Step change project, we are looking to develop the following tools that will:
  1. allow CALM users to interrogate linked data services, return results and insert selected URIs into CALM records
  2. allow these links to be displayed in the CALMVIEW web front end to the CALM application
  3. allow CALMVIEW to expose data from the CALM application in RDF so that it in turn can be interrogated by other services
In this entry I will be discussing development of point 1 (points 2 and 3 will emerge a little later in the project). Basically there are two aspects to the functionality in v.9.3 i) administration facility to allow configuration/testing of current and new linked data services and ii) user's facility to link URIs into CALM records. Let's look at the administration part first:
From the main administration menu, we go to a Linked Data submenu and can see the default linked data services which have been configured. These are AIM25, British Library British National Bibliography (BNB) and Wikipedia (Dbpedia). At this point we can add, remove or edit/test these services.

We can also see how the link to AIM25 is initially configured:

Next we can see the XSLT used to transform XML received from the selected service into CALM's XML.

At this point we can also select the test function and send some text to search the service and see what is returned. Here we have searched the AIM25 service with the text 'Churchill' and can see some XML returned.

This is transformed by the XSLT to CALM XML

and we can see the results processed below:

You can also use the Admin menu to determine which databases in CALM can be potentially linked to that service - you are not restricted to your catalogue database for example. So that's the admin part. What about linking a CALM catalogue record to a URL from one of these services? Well in catalogue menu, you select the Authorities menu in the left, and you now see a Linked Data button.  

Now you decide which service to link to:
You now decide which fields you would like the service to search against, and you can add your own free text to generate extra searches. Here I've selected the title field which contains the text 'Clementine Churchill', which is what I want to search against AIM25:

Now I see the results coming back from AIM25, and I've selected the Clementine Churchill person authority
And I then use the utility to post this URL into the CALM catalogue record
Here I've done the same with the Dbpedia service - you can see I get two Clementine Churchill topic returns. These actually turn out to be duplicates after checking the URLs so I end up having to delete one from the catalogue record...
Here's the catalogue record with links to both services in
Testing is all in the very early stages but some interesting (and I think important) points have emerged already:

1. Configuring or adding new Linked Data services to CALM: Axiell have designed this process to be generic and extensible. However to do this requires a knowledge and ability to write XSLT which will be beyond most archivists (me included!). So where does this leave us? A couple of options will likely emerge. Firstly, new services may be added in CALM upgrades through the User Group requests for enhancements process. Secondly, those CALM users with access to technical assistance may well be able to produce the requisite XSLT transforms necessary to add new services and share these through the User Group process.

 2. Making CALM find the internet: The Linked Data function in CALM means that the application now needs to reach the internet to do its searching. This is potentially problematic and will very much depend on the particular user technical environment and how user access to the internet is configured. Axiell, myself and the technical support for Cumbria County Council ICT have spent some considerable time testing and configuring to make this happen. Here in Cumbria for use a proxy server to access the internet and users have to enter username and password credentials when prompted. The proxy server then compares these credentials against a database, and if correct, allows access to the internet. Axiell have therefore had to develop CALM to prompt for these internet credentials if required, and we have found this works. In the near future we are likely to upgrade to a new proxy server which will check the user's Active Directory credentials and work straight off these, providing a cleaner, simpler route to the internet, and this should bypass the need to enter your internet credentials in CALM. However until CALM 9.3 is in a range of other user environments, it will not be possible to ensure that internet access is ensured.

3. Finding and determining meaningful results: Even after just a few minutes' use one can see some interesting issues emerge. The BL BNB service doesn't usually return anything from the text found in the fields of most of our CALM catalogue records, as it interprets text within each field as a complete search term. However using the freetext extra search box (without any CALM fields selected) to enter a crisper more precise word or string of text usually does work. The Dpbedia results seen in CALM from a search certainly need to be treated with caution. For example when parsing a catalogue record relating to some local police documents with fields which contained various text such as 'Whitehaven Police Station', 'Crime', 'Law', I had results back from Dpbedia as follows: 'Whitehaven', 'Crime', 'Law'. The Whitehaven URL related in fact to an entry about Whitehaven Railway Station, the Crime URL related not to an entry about criminalilty but to an entry for a Californian rock band called Crime, and the Law URL related not to legislation but to an entry about the actor Jude Law. Hmmmm....all good food for thought about future work in this area.

4. Useful services?: As things stand, three default services were configured because they were readily accessible and of some possible use to archivists and archive users. But the key services for archivists are as yet still in development or not readily accessible (I'm thinking of things like National Register of Archives, Manorial Documents Register etc). And there are major issues of course relating to person/corporate name authorities or geo name authorities which are essential areas for development, possibly by way of some sort of national brokering service to make these available in the same way that AIM25 is providing a sort of de facto UK Archival Thesaurus (UKAT) brokering service.

I'll be spending the next few weeks using CALM 9.3 to provide links to many hundreds of catalogue records, so we can see the results in a test version of CALMVIEW and which will allow proper user testing.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Historypin and Step change: Collections in Context

The not-for-profit behavior change agency We Are What We Do is known for creating simple yet compelling tools that encourage people to change their behavior in small ways that amount to big impacts in areas like waste reduction, childhood obesity, social isolation, etc.

Historypin is a project we created together with Google and several cultural memory institutions to help bridge the gap between cultures and generations and help rebuild and strengthen ties within communities. We created simple tools that could be used by individuals, schools, communities, and institutions to create a shared view of the layers of history that make up a community.

It's been nearly a year since the official launch of Historypin and we've experienced tremendous growth, with hundreds of cultural heritage institutions adding content and creating Channels, and tens of thousands of individual users joining the site and adding their own content.  It's in this growth that we've started to realize the potential for academic research of the blending of multiple collections, and the opportunity to incorporate other sources of content in more automated ways.  We've just begun to scratch the surface of what will be possible in years to come.

Our role in the Step change project is to explore options for incorporating AIM25 collection holdings into the geographic landscape of scores of historical photos and audio/video recordings; and to assist researchers, scholars, and the general public in the discovery and contextualization of these holdings.

In the coming weeks, we'll explore some of the user interface prototypes we're testing and document the challenges and successes we meet along the way.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Problems being addressed

The main purpose of Step change is to find a way for archive institutions to adopt Linked Data approaches when they otherwise face constraints of time, financial and personnel resources. Quite simply, Linked Data is unlikely to be adopted in the archives community if it is considered a potentially expensive add-on when apparently higher priorities can be identified such as cataloguing backlogs, problems with the continuity of digital data, the need for improved catalogues and search engine optimisation to make even the most basic descriptions available to the public for the first time.

Archivists need to be able to demonstrate to senior management improved productivity from using Linked Data approaches. Step change will try and do this by developing a workflow tool to enable archivists to analyse catalogues against various external services such as Geonames, and to capture the resulting RDF. The tool is being designed in such a way as to make cataloguing per se easier to carry out, for example by allowing consistent and accurate indexing through interrogation of UKAT. In this way, the creation of RDF will become a normal part of catalogue creation and management. The roll-out to CALM version 9.3 is designed to embed this approach across the CALM customer base.

The second problem is how to link archive catalogues effectively with other types of content such as bibliographic records, museum records, external databases and maps. The challenges here are considerable: the lack of availability of viable external services and APIs within the cultural sector; licensing issues with the reuse of map data out of contenxt; the lack of an available historical gazetteer to map antique placenames; discontinuities in describing name authorities; and the absence of user testing to determine which sources ought to be linked and at which levels of granularity. How much data is too much data for users to assimilate? The project is seeking to address this problem of usability by testing the mixing of several external data sets including the National Register of Archives, Historypin and Wikipedia and then user testing with CALM users and with local authority users in the north west of England. The key here is showing that publication of useful data side by side about a person, place or theme adds to the user experience, speeds up research or opens up new avenues of research.

Future work could include the blending of research datasets, the mapping of previously unmaped data and the use of the Workflow tool to crowdsource RDF creation using existing datasets, for example image metadata. These would all help support a stronger use-case for Linked Data in archives, libaries and museums.

Friday, 23 March 2012

UKAD Conference

I gave a talk with Robert Baxter from Cumbria Archive Service at the annual UKAD conference at The National Archives on 21 March. The talk explored the potential of Linked Data in the archives, libraries and museums sector, focusing on the experience of Step change.

Key lessons/challenges from Step change and from other JISC projects King's College Archives are working on (Trenches to Triples and World War One Research) mentioned in the talk include:

  • Definining/setting up/maintaining APIs - this is potentially challenging and time-consuming
  • Need for URI definitions/syntax across the archives, libraries and museums sector - this discussion was started by LOCAH and is ongoing. A wiki will be launched soon by ULCC inviting information professional feedback on these definitions and to try and reach some consensus in the coming months
  • Place name vocabularies are a particular challenge. Step change archivists will potentially have access to some four or five sets of data about similar places - for example Geonames, English Place Names, AIM25-UKAT, GoGeo, and a local CALM place dataset. Have will they ensure consistency or that terms found across the datasets are actually talking about the same place?
  • Linked Data analysis exposes poor quality and inconsistent existing metadata. Step change is partly about providing tools that will identify discrepancies and make metadata input more consistent but the funding and management challenges of this laundry operation remain considerable
  • Establishing and supporting new live LOD services beyond existing JISC funding will be a challenge. Services go down - how will data retrieval cope with this fact of life?
  • Visualisation - this poses multiple challenges. how much information is too much information for users? How do we maintain relevancy - can the users decide themselves to some extent?
The development of the Workflow tool (Alicat) and LOD version of UKAT are well under way (Workpackages 2-3). These are informing redesign currently under way at Axiell. A meeting is planned on 29 March to review CALM development to date, prior to the commencement of analysis of Cumbria test catalogues by Robert using the new tools in a CALM development environment.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Progress report

The Step Change project is well under way and there is lots to report.

Rory at ULCC has been working hard on creating a SKOS version of AIM25-UKAT, rolled out as a service. The redesign of the workflow tool by which archvists can interrogate and analyse finding aids using semantic tools such as Open Calais, is well under way. Careful note was made of the fndings on the design and its usability by the professional survey panels convened to look at the provisional tool as part of the OMP project in 2011, but also professionals present at a meeting convened by Jane Stevenson at JISC on Linked Data and archives on 7 February, at which the first design of the tool was showcased to a wider audience by Rory. Feedback from that meeting included the need for better faceting of results, faster processing speeds, and more relevant choices available to archivists to validate the processed entities ('This is Winston Churchill, not the Churchill tank') .

The current redesign is aimed at producing a cleaner, streamlined tool for processing not only ISAD(G) records, but also more detailed and granular catalogue entries, down to single lines of image metadata, a refinement required as part of the related JISC-funded Trenches to Triples project that allows for semantic processing of digital asset management system metadata. A design meeting is scheduled with CALM for March to refine the adaptations to the CALM user interface necessary to incorporate the workflow tool. A working version of the tool and redesigned CALM system will be road tested at Cumbria and with London members of the CALM User Group once the initial design phase is completed. Chris Hilton of the CALM User Group is helping with this evaluation.

A data exchange schema has been drawn up by ULCC and CALM and a preliminary design document circulated to steering panel members. CALM backend and front end redesign work has begun.

Considerable progress has been made with Historypin to enable placenames held in AIM25-UKAT, and their corresponding collection descriptions to be displayed in a modified tab in Historypin corresponding to a broad neighbourhood such as a parish or similarly sized administrative unit. This should provide additional contextual AIM25 catalogue information to users of Historypin, and visa versa, once the service goes live ('Interested in these historical photographs? To learn more about parallel collections that may be of use, click this tab for archive/record office descriptions'). A similar read-across will be possible for the Cumbria instance of CALM, to demonstrate the value for both archives and Historypin of sharing data. Feedback from record office users (often a different audience from university archives) will determine the utility of this approach in the local setting.

This phase of the work posed a variety of challenges familiar to projects using geo-data. Latitude and longitude information needed to be generated from the placenames in order to utilise the Google maps API used by Historypin. Place name information in AIM25-UKAT was often too broad, or too specific, to be meaningful when translated into Historypin. For example a collection indexed with the term 'London' but actually concerning papers about Wandsworth would resolve to a point near Charing Cross in Google maps - misleading for Historypin users expecting to find related information in the Wandsworth part of the map. This example highlights the discrepacy between indexing granularity and the granularity necessary for adequate geo-location, and the specificity of indexing intended for collection level only (and necessarily and intentionally broader).

Historypin require very accurate scope and content information about a place and another problem to emerge was 'mixed' collection level scope and content descriptions containing references to papers about widely dispersed geographical locations. This is often the case with records reflecting lengthy and varied careers, including those of military officers posted around the globe or scientists on botanical or other expeditions. In these cases, each scope and content paragraph might read across and be pinned to sometimes wildly divergent parts of the globe. A user excited by the 'other useful information' tab for images pinned on Historypin to Oxford Street, say, might start reading a paragraph of catalogue information beginning with a description of an expedition to Borneo, and only later going on to describe Oxford Street. One possible solution for this problem is to allow archivists to highlight, select and save components of scope and content paragraphs and corresponding placenames in the index, so only the appropriate information - and only this information - is displayed in the 'other useful information' tab. This brings its own data complications, however, particularly of storage, retrieval and update of catalogue information. The project team is currently exploring work-arounds and solutions to these data accuracy problems.

Overlap with other projects

In January, JISC awarded a substantial grant to the DEEP project, based at the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London but involving input from several universities. This project - Digital Exposure of English Place Names (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/digitisation/econtent/econtent11_13/englishplacenamesprojectplan.pdf)- will publish a Linked Data version of the English Place-Name Society's corpus on a county by county basis, and generate a rich, historical hiearchy of names to complement services such as Vision of Britain. Step change is exploring the possibility of using relevant Cumbria/London place name data to enhance the accuracy of placename indexing via the workflow tool. An archivist would be able to interrogate the new database and select a more historically accurate and appropriate term for the catalogue entry they are working on, such as the title deeds of an individual property, and its accompanying uri. The archivist might also have a range of alternatives to draw on - a detailed and locally-specific placename list maintained in CALM, a Geonames alternative and the AIM25-UKAT placenames index, for example. Potential pitfalls here include the danger of inpappropriately mixed data points (the same places might be described in very different ways across the datasets, or the same name in two or more sets actually correlates to different places), the use of local variants and nicknames, not to mention licensing concerns for component placename lists. The user would also not necessarily notice any improvement in the front end catalogue site unless the places and their uris are actually connected to real services delivering some added functionality.

Step change has met with the JISC-funded M25 Search25 service, which is looking to create Linked Data bibliographic tools useful to London's research libraries. We explored possible avenues of collaboration involving mixing bibliographic information with archive data in London ('View these descriptions about Winston Churchill...view these book titles'). Discussion centred around using RDF versions of LCSH and Marc records, as demonstrated by the recent BL Talis project. Ideas include mixing contact/repository information such as ARCHON with library equivalents, and subject-specific read-across for sub-sets of books and archives. Discussion have taken place with TNA on data exchange and experimentation using TNA datasets.

Step change overlaps with Trenches to Triples (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/di_informationandlibraries/resourcediscovery/trenchestotriples.aspx) a new JISC funded project being managed by several members of the Step change team. T3, which runs until the end of July 2012, will include the adaptation of the Step change workflow tool to enable the analysis of detailed catalogue entries and the publication of the semantic output as RDF, the creation of an API for the catalogues of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives and a link between First World War-related metadata and images from the JISC-funded Serving Soldier project, and catalogue entries to provide a granular read-across between different hearchical representations of the same collections: collection level-detailed file level-item/piece level from the image metadata. The project will also involve the creation of an enriched corpus of World War One terminology for insertion in UKAT and available across JISC's suite of Great War projects via the Step change AIM25-UKAT API. 

Broader discussions are under way between archive, library and museum professionals on a uri definition directory to enable cross-sectoral Linked Data data model and minimise duplication of effort.  A wiki will be created to capture any outcomes to developers and members of the wider LODLAM community, internationally.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Step change project plan

Aims, Objectives and Final Output(s) of the project

The step change project will develop a web service to make available a Linked Data version of AIM25-UKAT, the most up to date version of the UK Archival Thesaurus, which also includes personal name, corporate name and place indexing. It will also build on the Open Metadata Pathway exemplar, which developed a workflow tool to enable archivists to add Linked Data to catalogue entries. These improvements will be integrated with the CALM cataloguing software product, tested by a leading regional record office and rolled out as an improvement in future software releases. It will also be integrated into Historypin, the historical referencing tool.

The main objective of the project are the creation of a practical, usable service to add Linked Data to archive catalogue material via the creation of an API and its application in a real world archival setting.

The main outputs will be:

  • An RDFa version of UKAT available via an API
  • Enhanced semantic markup workflow tool that can be integrated into other services
  • Enhanced AIM25 website with examples of linking with other services from collection level desciptions
  • Redesigned CALM and CALMView UI to enable archivists to create Linked Data, express in the front end and connect with relevant external services
  • Exemplar of CALM improvements roadtested in Cumbria Archives Service with linking to relevant local sources and user testing
  • Linking between catalogue entries in AIM25 and CALM with Historypin images
  • External content such as maps and bibliographic records will be connected to archive catalogues to multiply possible research opportunities
  • Final report and lessons learned
Wider Benefits to Sector & Achievements for Host Institution

The project will deliver significant benefits to the HE Archives and wider archives sector. These will include the rejuvenation of UKAT as a useful and up-to-date subject thesaurus via the RDFa version of the index and the API. Step change also builds on the workflow tool, arguably the most important development to come out of the OMP project, which proved its worth in user testing by archive professionals. The tool allows catalogue records to be validated against external services and RDFa to be generated. It also permits enhancement of UKAT by trusted users via appropriate authentication.

These tools and lessons will be immediately applied to CALM, which is the most widely used archival software product in the UK with some 400 institutional customers, many of which are UK universities or research institutions. Archivists who use CALM will see an immediate benefit in an improved backend process to add Linked Data and index their entries, thus speeding up cataloguing and making new collections available to the public more quickly.

Users of such catalogues will also benefit by visibility to other relevant services selected by archivists in consultation with the users and user interest groups. Historypin users will see enhanced metadata assoicated with geo-located images pinned on their UK and world map, pointing users directly at the relevant parts of archive catalogues associated with those locations, thus improving accessibility to catalogues via a very popular website and app.

AIM25 will see significant improvements to enhance use of this important aggregation site for London HE and other archives, including improved linking and visability of associated websites and digital content including external authority records, maps and other content. Cataloguing processes will be streamlined in a similar way to the CALM work by allowing archivists to index their collection level descriptions more quickly and accurately by reference to the definitive UKAT thesaurus in Linked Data format.

Risk Analysis and Success Plan


Archives to prevent  / manage risk
Difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff
Most staff are already employed by partners and this time will be bought out. The project will also distribute knowledge throughout the project to limit the effects if a staff member leaves. Project gaps will be filled by the use of agency staff or internal secondments and consideration will be given to outsourcing aspects of the technical work.
A complete test bed and evaluation cannot be implemented within the time frame
Project management team will closely monitor progress of objectives and outputs. If necessary, with the agreement of the Programme Manager, some activities can be re-scoped to ensure an effective outputs are achieved.  Active and regular communication with the archival community and third party service suppliers is recognised as of key importance and will be offered through regular briefings, news items and contribution to lists.
Failure to meet project milestones
Produce project plan with clear objectives. Continuous project assessment and close communication between project manager, technical leads, and JISC programme manager to ensure targets are realistic, achievable and focus on project goals.
CALM-AXIELL goes into receivership

Comparable work will be discussed with Adlib, the second largest supplier of archival cataloguing software in the UK.  Failure of this approach will be followed by the development of an application for ICA ATOM.


IPR in all reports and other documents produced by the project will be retained jointly by King’s College London and ULCC but made freely available on a non exclusive license as required/advised by JISC. All software and data created during the project will be made available to the community on an appropriate Creative Commons open licence.

Project Team Relationships and End User Engagement

The project manager is Geoff Browell, previously responsible for the Open Metadata Pathway exemplar and is Archives Services Manager at King's College London. He is project manager of AIM25, most recently responsible for delivering a major upgrade with the London Metropolitan Archives. Geoff has been responsible for other JISC, Wellcome Trust and similarly funded projects involving cataloguing, digitisation, digital asset management and app development.

The chief technical developer is Rory McNicholl of the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC), where he has worked for some ten years. He developed cataloguing and querying tools for NDAD, and has made substantial contributions to JISC projects including SNEEP, CLASM, MERLIN, PICT qand the SOAS Furer-Hamimendorf digital Collections. He works extensively with complex bibliographic and semantic metadata and was lead developer in the OMP project in 2011.

Projected Timeline, Workplan & Overall Project Methodology

Workpackage 1: Project management, planning and recruitment
Creation of the team through secondment; preparation of the detailed project plan; establishment of the project board; creation & maintainenance the project website and blog; communications with the professional community and third party suppliers; focus group evaluation; and budget management.

Workpackage 2: UKAT Service Development
This package will develop UKAT  as a web service for AIM25, CALM, Historypin and the archive and MLA sector as a whole. ULCC will develop a set of services for accessing (and manipulating) the UKAT content and make them available via a RESTful web API and make them available as a nationally supported service. The API will concentrate on the 'Read' element of the CRUD operations. There will be mechanisms for direct access to records and navigation across the thesaurus structure based on the current SKOS schema (http://www.w3.org/TR/skos-reference/). The developed API will handle searching of the content, based both on single strings and blocks of text. Responses to read operations will constitute semantically expressed data and will be available as RDF/XML or JSON. The ability to update, create and delete records via the API will also be added. The AIM25 workflow prototype developed in the course of the JISC-funded Open Metadata Pathway will be used to demonstrate the client-side of this functionality.

Workpackage 3: Development of AIM25 workflow tool
The workpackage will develop the functionality of the workflow tool and roll it out for all AIM25 partners. It will include drag and drop functionality for archivists to select one or multiple RDF-marked terms and drag them into their chosen record(s); a bulk uploader for multiple records sharing similar metadata (which will speed up the workflow still further); to further refine and deploy front end features that display sematic information; and a permission/authentication tool to validate brand new index terms and ensure that they meet National Council on Archives (NCA) rules for the construction of names. ULCC developed a prototype tool to do this reformating of names as part of the OMP. Two professional training sessions will be held at King's College for AIM25 archivists to provide instruction on the value of Linked Data and how to use the new AIM25 workflow tool.

Workpackage 4: Implementing UKAT tool in CALM and CALMView
This package will take the AIM25-UKAT API and OMP/AIM25 tools (packages 2, 3) and implement them in CALM and CALMView (the web front end). It will adapt the CALM UI and CALMView and roll-out this improvement across all CALM instances with successive upgrades. It will draw on lessons from the SALDA project which investigated Linked Data & CALM (http://blogs.sussex.ac.uk/salda/2011/02/). The development work will be carried out by CALM with some assistance from ULCC and will incorporate the AIM25-style semantic annotation tool in the UI; permit validation, analysis and selection of metadata against AIM25-UKAT; and express links with semantic services in the front end product. For CALMView, work will embed the semantic properties of stored terms into an archival record's web view using RDFa and/or creation of a SPARQL endpoint for records; and the integration of  FLISM-like plugins to link record views to related services (FLISM was developed by ULCC to express semantic metadata, see http://code.google.com/p/flism/). This work will enable the public to click on link on appropriate semantic links embedded in catalogue search returns. The work will draw on tools used in the MERLIN project undertaken by UCL and ULCC that provided an interface to the UNESCO thesaurus in the context of the HILT project.

Workpackage 5: In-service implementation of the CALM upgrade including AIM25-UKAT in Cumbria Archive Service
Th is package will develop, refine, implement and test the changes to the CALM UI and CALMView front end in a leading CALM institution and provide a demonstrator for further review. Cumbria Archive Service will provide detailed input based on real use of CALM by experienced cataloguers, will process as RDF a major sub-section of records (estate, family and local records) comprising 100,000 records, and add sematic markup to a subset of 2,000 of these record entries using the new mark-up tool. The records will then be linked to a number of existing or proposed services such as Wikipedia and Historypin and published live on the CAS catalogue website as an exemplar. 

CAS will also lead testing of the new UI and front-end at focus groups of the 14-institition North West CALM User Group including Greater Manchester County Record Office, Liverpool Record Office and Lancashire Record Office; at a focus group of the Friends of Cumbria Archives, a volunteer forum established in 1991 to support the work of CAS.  Representatives of the Cumbria County History Trust (Victoria County History – VCH - for Cumbria) will also be consulted in order to determine how VCH data might link semantically with CAS local data. These meets and discussions will inform a final customisation, visual improvement and snagging of the new CALM product. The CAS archivist will also play a key advocacy role throughout, attending key meetings, reporting back to the national CALM User Group will presenting findings at the roadmap consultation.  

Workpackage 6: Integration of AIM25-UKAT API with Historypin
This will integrate the AIM25-UKAT API with Historypin to enable links to catalogues containing places that have been marked up sematically via the API. An additional links tab will be added by the Historypin developers to sit alongside descriptions visible in the Historypin map interface to point users back to specific catalogue descriptions. Archive institutions can already bulk upload visual content to Historypin but the AIM25-UKAT API will facilitate automated linking and improve discovery. This work will provide a building block for new crowdsourcing tools currently being developed by Historypin(drawing on projects such as JISC Old Weather (http://www.oldweather.org/) to connect archive, library and museum resources with communities of users to enable users to markup and share content and stories about places.

Workpackage 7: Roadmap consultation
This workpackage is a roadmap consultation, scheduled for May/June 2012, in London which will bring together archive and broader MLA sector practitioners including AIM25 members, CALM users, Historypin, MIMAS, JISC's Discovery, IHR Digital, The National Archives, Vision of Britain, UKAD members and others; representatives of semantic search engines such as Open Calais; and potential content service providers such as Victoria County History and British History Online. It will provide an opportunity to explore and prioritise the creation of suitable services that can be connected by the tools developed in Step change and similar projects. Representation will be sought from InforM25, which has expressed an interest in sharing bibliographic data on books in London, and with which AIM25 already has links; and with the museum sector including Royal Institution Spectrum-compliant museum collections, to examine the value of mixing archival, museum and bibliographc data.

Workpackage 8: Dissemination
This package will run throughout the course of the project and comprise two AIM25 partner evaluation sessions; focus groups for Friends of Cumbria Archives and the North West CALM User Group; papers to the UK Archives Discovery Network 2012 spring conference; the Higher Education Archivists Group, ARA and M25 Library Consortium meetings. The main dissemination event will be the roadmap meeting in May/June 2012. Key staff will attend JISC programme meetings as required and the project manager will maintain a blog and news on public lists.