Using linked open data to enhance the discoverability, functionality and impact of Emblematica Online

Timothy W Cole, Myung-Ja Han, Maria Janina Sarol, Monika Biel, David Maus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Early Modern emblem books are primary sources for scholars studying the European Renaissance. Linked Open Data (LOD) is an approach for organizing and modeling information in a data-centric manner compatible with the emerging Semantic Web. The purpose of this paper is to examine ways in which LOD methods can be applied to facilitate emblem resource discovery, better reveal the structure and connectedness of digitized emblem resources, and enhance scholar interactions with digitized emblem resources. Design/methodology/approach: This research encompasses an analysis of the existing XML-based Spine (emblem-specific) metadata schema; the design of a new, domain-specific, Resource Description Framework compatible ontology; the mapping and transformation of metadata from Spine to both the new ontology and (separately) to the pre-existing ontology; and the (experimental) modification of the Emblematica Online portal as a proof of concept to illustrate enhancements supported by LOD. Findings: LOD is viable as an approach for facilitating discovery and enhancing the value to scholars of digitized emblem books; however, metadata must first be enriched with additional uniform resource identifiers and the workflow upgrades required to normalize and transform existing emblem metadata are substantial and still to be fully worked out. Practical implications: The research described demonstrates the feasibility of transforming existing, special collections metadata to LOD. Although considerable work and further study will be required, preliminary findings suggest potential benefits of LOD for both users and libraries. Originality/value: This research is unique in the context of emblem studies and adds to the emerging body of work examining the application of LOD best practices to library special collections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-178
Number of pages20
JournalLibrary Hi Tech
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Emblems
  • Linked data
  • Metadata transformations
  • Resource Description Framework
  • Semantic Web
  • Special collections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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