Sunday, 24 October 2010

UK Culture Grid wants to know what developers need - get in!

Neil Smith from Knowledge Integration dropped by the Museums and the machine-processable web wiki to ask what users (developers) need to get data in and out of the Culture Grid:
To support the ambitious targets for increasing the number of item records in Culture Grid, we thought know would be a good time to review the venerable old application profile we use for importing metadata into the Grid. I've added a discussion page reviewing options at

We really want the community to be involved in helping ensure that whatever profile (or profiles) we support will meet the needs of users - not only for getting things into the grid but also for getting things out in a format that is useful to them. Although the paper focusses mainly on XML representations of metadata, we're also interested in your views on whether non-XML representations (e.g RDF or JSON) need to be supported.
So whether you work in a museum or are an external developer who'd like to use museum data, I'd encourage you to think about the four options Neil outlines, and to comment, ask questions, share sample data, vote for your favourite option, whatever, on the Culture Grid Profile page.  One of the options is to develop a new model - definitely more time-consuming, but a great opportunity to make your needs known.

As an indication of the type of content that's available through the Culture Grid, I've copied this text from some of their about pages: "It contains over 1 million records from over 50 UK collections, covering a huge range of topics and periods.  Records mostly refer to images but also text, audio and video resources and are mostly about museum objects with library, archive and other kinds of collections also included."  So, that's:

  • "information about items in collections (referencing the images, video, audio or other material you offer online about the things in your collections)
  • information about collections as a whole (their scope, significance and access details)
  • information about collecting organisations (contact and access details)"

There's a lot of cultural heritage and tech jargon involved on the Culture Grid Profile discussion page - don't hold back on asking for clarifications where needed.  I'm certainly not an expert on the various schemas and it's a very long time since I helped work out the Exploring 20th Century London extensions for the original PNDS, but I've given it a go.

If you've read this far, you might also be interested in the first ever Culture Grid Hack Day in Newcastle Upon Tyne on December 3, 2010.

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