Linked Data for the Humanities

Please note: FULL SCHOLARSHIPS are available for this course thanks to the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. CLICK HERE to apply.

The work of a digital humanities researcher is informed by the possibilities offered through digital resources: their ever increasing numbers, and their distribution and access through the Internet. In this context, the Semantic Web can be seen as a framework to enable radical publication, sharing, and linking of data for, and by, scholars.

This course introduces the concepts and technologies behind the Semantic Web and teaches attendees about the standards and practices that underpin Linked Data. Sessions offer a mix of “under the hood” technical details explaining how Linked Data ticks, alongside examples of applied Linked Data from the presenters’ own humanities research. Through consideration of these varied uses across the humanities – including musicology, early English literature, and manuscript provenance – attendees will be familiarized with the common patterns by which Linked Data can be applied to their own specialisms. The course will culminate in a full day studying a major new digital humanities resource from the Mapping Manuscript Migrations project, including data from the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, exploring the end-to-end application of Linked Data as a solution for both memory institutions and the researchers using them.

Across the week the course will cover three fundamentals of Linked Data – RDF, SPARQL, and ontologies – through lectures, guided exercises, and extensive hands-on practical sessions, before culminating in a worked end-to-end example bringing all aspects together. While the course has no prerequisites, it will delve into technical implementations so participants should be comfortable with (the idea of) reading and editing underlying machine encodings of data. Examples and exercises will be web-based, although a larger screen and keyboard would be beneficial. Test pages will be provided in advance of the course so participants can ensure they bring a compatible devices/web browser to the course.


Dr Kevin Page is a senior researcher and associate member of faculty at the University of Oxford e-Research Centre, where he applies Linked Data to the Digital Humanities through several research projects. He is PI of the AHRC ‘Unlocking Musicology’ project and a Co-I of ‘Digital Delius’, ‘Mapping Manuscript Migrations’, and ‘Workset Creation for Scholarly Analysis’. As Technical Director of Oxford Linked Open Data (OXLOD) he works with collections across the Gardens, Libraries, and Museums of the University, and has participated in standards activities including the W3C Linked Data Platform (LDP) working group and Linked.Art editorial board.

David Lewis is a researcher based at the Oxford e-Research Centre and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. His research focuses on the creation, dissemination and use of digital corpora of music and music theory, and combining digital humanities resources from different sources for richer exploration. Research projects include ‘Mapping Manuscript Migrations’, ‘Digital Delius’, ‘Transforming Musicology’ and the ‘Electronic Corpus of Lute Music’.

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