Linking museums: machine-readable data in cultural heritage – meetup in London July 7

Somehow I've ended up organising an (very informal) event about 'Linking museums: machine-readable data in cultural heritage' on Wednesday, July 7, at a pub near Liverpool St Station. I have no real idea what to expect, but I'd love some feisty sceptics to show up and challenge people to make all these geeky acronyms work in the real museum world.

As I posted to the MCG list: "A very informal meetup to discuss 'Linking museums: machine-readable data in cultural heritage' is happening next Wednesday. I'm hoping for a good mix of people with different levels of experience and different perspectives on the issue of publishing data that can be re-used outside the institution that created it. … please do pass this on to others who may be interested. If you would like to come but can't get down to that London, please feel free to send me your questions and comments (or beer money)."

The basic details are: July 7, 2010, Shooting Star pub, London. 7:30 – 10pm-ish. More information is available at and you can let me know you're coming or register your interest.

In more detail…

I'm trying to cut through the chicken and egg problem – as a museum technologist, I can work towards getting machine-readable data available, but I'm not sure which formats and what data would be most useful for developers who might use it. Without a critical mass of take-up for any one type, the benefits of any one data source are more limited for developers. But museums seem to want a sense of where the critical mass is going to be so they can build for that. How do we cut through this and come up with a sensible roadmap?

You! If you're interested in using museum data in mashups but find it difficult to get started or find the data available isn't easily usable; if you have data you want to publish; if you work in a museum and have a
data publication problem you'd like help in solving; if you are a cheerleader for your favourite acronym…

Put another way, this event is for you if you're interested in publishing and sharing data about their museums and collections through technologies such as linked data and microformats.

It'll be pretty informal! I'm not sure how much we can get done but it'd be nice to put faces to names, and maybe start some discussions around the various problems that could be solved and tools that could be
created with machine-readable data in cultural heritage.

2 thoughts on “Linking museums: machine-readable data in cultural heritage – meetup in London July 7”

  1. Totally bummed to be missing this meetup but here's something that might be worth discussing –

    Here we see a developer having a play with the Powerhouse dataset and in the process finding a number of issues in working with it – which he resolves and shares the code for. I like this because this demonstrates some of the realities in working with our messy data and the need to keep being responsive to the changing needs of developers when making data available either through download or via an API.

  2. Thanks for sharing the link, I'll check it out later. It's a shame you can't be there but I'll try to take notes and share them afterwards.

    I worked with other developers to try and use some of our data at a recent hackday (e.g. and it was a painfully eye-opening experience. They were hoping to use as it covered the whole collections – this is an out-of-the-box interface to our collections, but it just didn't work for programmatic access.

    I got lots of ideas for improvements to our beta API on the day, the best being 'make it available in JSON, or better, JSONP'.

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