The following is a summary of a presentation given by Dominic Oldman on 7th May 2013 concerning Contextual Data Publication at the British Museum.

Contextual Data Publication for Research and Engagement at the British Museum [e-Research Seminar Series]

Dominic Oldman (
When: 7th May ’13 from 02:00 pm to 03:00 pm
Where: OeRc Access Grid Room, 7 Keble Road

ResearchSpace to be released in the near future.


  • semantic search of British Museum holdings
  • annotation of research objects by individuals and collaborative research groups

Based on linked data representation of British Museum data.

Motivation is to make data available to all.

Nearly all software is open source and source code will be released on github for re-use, except for one product. Exception is closed-source Ontotext OWLIM ( (also used by BBC) that is used as the semantic repository, due to there not being an open-source option that meets performance requirements. When open source option becomes available this will be implemented in place of OWLIM.

Interest from other organisations to implement similar approach, e.g. Natural History Museum.

System enables co-referencing of research objects (said to be better than available elsewhere) by using contextual data. Example given of person with limited biographical data available. A profile can be created by summarizing contextual data e.g. publications, type of publication, location, etc. By comparing this contextual data it might be possible to define a co-reference with a research object in the same repository or external repository.

Underlying Technology

  • OWLIM – a Resource Description Framework (RDF) database based on sesame.
  • Java – server side coding
  • Javascript (JQuery, Dojo) – client side programming

Underlying Standards

  • CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) – An Ontology framework for organising cultural
  • heritage data.
  • Open Annotation – a schema for representing annotations

Relevant presentations:

Project web site

Blog post by Dominic Oldman