Piloting Linked Open Data on Artists’ Books: A Case Study in Interoperability and Sustainability

Emilee Lynn Mathews, Laura J Smart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artists’ books are a common component of many art libraries, and are of great interest to artists and art historians because of their highly visual, interactive and sculptural qualities. However, many of these art-like qualities remain under-described when only represented in the typical library catalog. University of California, Irvine (UCI) Libraries are working through an NEH grant to extend interoperability and discoverability of artists’ books through the use of linked open data (LOD). We implemented processes of transforming legacy metadata from our Library catalog to linked open data while enhancing records with Visual Resources Association (VRA) Core elements. In addition to publishing linked open data with digital surrogates of artists’ books in our special collections, we built a prototype visualization tool to allow researchers to traverse relationships within and between the works, discovering connections between artists, genres, techniques, and materials. This article will describe the behind the scenes processes and challenges in making the project interoperable with an emphasis on the metadata aspect of the project, and offer ways to sustain the project’s growth, through the recommendations and toolkits gathered from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), Digital Library Federation (DLF), and Ithaka S+R.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalVRA Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • linked open data
  • data modeling
  • metadata
  • artists' books
  • visualization


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