By Athanasios Velios and Kristen St.John
We are pleased to announce that the Linked Conservation Data Consortium has secured further funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to continue with efforts to improve and harmonise documentation in conservation. The consortium is a unique environment where conservation practice, documentation, terminology and ontology are discussed in relation to their impact on the profession both in strategic and in practical terms.
The consortium has grown, and we are happy to welcome these new partners:
American Institute of Conservation
Guildhall Museum, Rochester
The National Archives, UK
National Gallery of Scotland
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Sapienza University, Rome
Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research
University of South Wales
University of the Aegean
Based on the preparatory work done during phase 1, this year the consortium has the following targets:
Terminology: We will develop guidelines on the publication of conservation vocabularies to allow matching words from different vocabularies which refer to the same concept. This will allow us to build software tools to query records in databases regardless of the preferred words used to describe them. The consortium will also establish basic infrastructure for sharing conservation vocabularies as well as accompanying data describing how conservation terms match.
Linked Data pilot: We will undertake a pilot implementation with conservation treatment records provided by four of LCD’s partners: the Bodleian Library, the Library of Congress, Stanford Libraries as well as the John Rylands Library (University of Manchester). This implementation will be in collaboration with the British Museum and the ResearchSpace project. Through this pilot we hope to learn more about tools and strategies needed to implement linked data for conservation treatment documentation.
Events: The consortium will organise a workshop on the value of conservation data for educators in memory organisations at the Guildhall Museum in Rochester, Kent (UK). Following the demand for the modelling workshops during phase 1, the consortium will also organise a modelling workshop at the Library of Congress (USA) in fall 2020 as well as conclude with a webinar summarising the work of phase 2. We will announce dates for these activities in the near future.
LCD benefits from the support of major conservation professional bodies. These include the IIC, Icon (UK) and AIC (USA). The project is an opportunity to address the problem of integration for conservation data at both a technical and strategic/policy level.
LCD is an open consortium and we welcome institutions and conservators who wish to discuss documentation and contribute to the project. Details on how to get in touch can be found on the project website.
Dr Athanasios Velios is reader in documentation at the University of the Arts London as part of Ligatus, working on the documentation of conservation practice and modelling data for heritage conservation. He was trained as a conservator and has a PhD in computer applications to conservation. He was the webmaster of the International Institute for Conservation from 2009 until 2017.
Kristen St.John is head of conservation services for the Stanford Libraries. She was previously collections conservator at UCLA and special collections conservator for Rutgers. She has an MLIS and an advanced certificate in conservation from the University of Texas at Austin. Her interests include preservation education, the preservation and dissemination of conservation documentation, and historic bookbinding materials.
(Find the full article in the April-May 2020 "News in Conservation" Issue 77, p. 28-29)