Integrating Linked Data with Ancient World Research Methodologies (Middle)

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PhD dissertation 2016-2019

Student: Sarah Middle (Open University)

Supervisors: Elton Barker (Open University), Phil Perkins (Open University), Mathieu D'Aquin (NUI Galway), Alessandro Adamou (NUI Galway)

Working title

Integration of Linked Data Resources with Existing Research Methodologies in Classics and Related Disciplines


Linked Data is a set of principles and technologies for publishing data on the Web and connecting digital objects in a machine-readable way. It facilitates searching across multiple collections and reveals relationships between resources that could not otherwise be determined. As such, Linked Data has the potential to transform research involving online material, including that done in the Humanities, although its adoption in this area remains minimal. However, some relatively mature Linked Data resources are available for studying the Ancient World; looking at how these and similar resources are used by researchers could inform future developments.

This PhD explores how Linked Data might be integrated with existing methodologies for researching the Ancient World by studying the experiences of, and processes used by, Ancient World researchers. An initial survey was conducted in March-April 2018 to gain insight into the use and production of digital resources relating to the Ancient World, with specific questions on Linked Data. As of May 2018, analysis of survey responses is ongoing, with plans to conduct follow-up interviews with selected participants later in the year.

The findings from this project will result in a set of recommendations for how future Linked Data resources might be developed to ensure their usefulness and usability to Ancient World researchers. It is hoped that such recommendations might also be more broadly applicable to other Humanities disciplines.