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Cultural Heritage and the Semantic Web British Museum & UCL Study Day - Jan 13th

posted 22 Sep 2010, 08:28 by Dominic Oldman   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 02:14 ]

Cultural Heritage and the Semantic Web

British Museum & University of London Study Day

Free Event – January 13th 2011

The Hugh and Catherine Stevenson Lecture Theatre (9.15 to 3:30)

University College London, Roberts Building, ‘Sir David Davies Lecture Theatre’ room G08
[see C5 on]
(16:00 to 19.00)

To book a ticket click here


The World Wide Web is an essential part of the Museum’s toolkit for publishing information, engaging visitors and communicating across the globe. However, museum web sites and information systems are still largely silos that make it difficult for us to realize the benefits of bringing data together. The growing momentum of the Semantic Web movement means a greater investment in the technology and tools needed to convert its potential into practical opportunities that museums can utilise. The ability of the semantic web to cheaply but effectively integrate data and breakdown data silos provides museums with a long awaited opportunity to present a richer, more informative and interesting picture. For scholars, it promises the ability to uncover relationships and knowledge that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to discover otherwise.

The main focus of this study day is on projects that are already employing semantic web technology and which represent the beginning of a new wave of initiatives that will encourage further investigation and investment. By presenting a more practical insight into the use of the semantic web in the sector it is hoped that the current gap between the technologists and others who stand to benefit from the technology can be bridged.

Aimed at a general cultural heritage audience, the day currently includes the following speakers

  • Professor Dame Wendy Hall DBE FRS FREng – Keynote Speaker
  • Kenneth Hamma - The Wrong Containers, Humanities and the Internet
  • John Sheridan - Government and National Archive initiatives
  • Hugh Glaser -  Museum data, where next – consuming linked data
  • Atanas Kiryakov – FactForge – the Fast Track to the Centre of the Data Web
  • Dominic Oldman – The ResearchSpace Initiative – Supporting scholarly research online
  • Leif Isaksen  - Semantic Technologies in Cultural Heritage: Past, Present and Future
  • Jonathan Whitson Cloud - Paths to Data Sharing


Professor Dame Wendy Hall DBE FRS FREng

Wendy Hall is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton in the UK and was Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science from 2002-2007.  Her current research includes applications of the Semantic Web and the development of the Web of Linked Data. She was a co-founder of the Web Science Research Initiative and is currently the managing director of the Web Science Trust.

In 2008 she was elected as President of the Association for Computing Machinery; the first person from outside North America to hold this position.  She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and is a founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council.   She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and was awarded a DBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in 2010. On 1 August 2010 she took up the appointment as Dean of Physical and Applied Sciences at the University of Southampton.                                                

John Sheridan

John Sheridan is Head of Legislation Services at The National Archives. His work as a Civil Servant spans information policy, technology and online service delivery. John is responsible for, a significant effort to apply Semantic Web technologies to the Statute Book. John is also the Linked Data lead for

Kenneth Hamma

Kenneth Hamma is currently working independently with the Yale Center for British Art, the Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure at Yale, and the Museums and Art Conservation Program at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He also continues to work with two Mellon Foundation funded development projects: ResearchSpace at the British Museum and ConservationSpace - - at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

He was until 2008 Executive Director for Digital Policy and Initiatives at the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles. He oversaw the management of the Getty Trust website,, as well as strategic planning for information management across all Getty programs: the Museum, the Research Institute, the Conservation Institute and the Foundation. He has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), a member of the RLG Programs Council of OCLC, and a director of the Museum Domain Management Association, the sponsor of the museum internet TLD. He has served on numerous influential committees concerned with archives, libraries and museums.


Hugh Glaser

Hugh Glaser’s research work has most recently been as a Reader in the School of Electronics & Computer Science at the University of Southampton, UK. His earlier research was in the fundamentals of Distributed Systems and Programming Languages, but since the Semantic Web activity began he has moved his focus to the technologies required to deliver the vision. As part of this he has enthusiastically embraced the Linked Data initiative.

In addition to the general work and consultancy he is responsible for two significant practical activities in the Web of Data: a) , which helps to establish linkage between datasets; b), which is a Linked Data application that gives a unified view of some fixed datasets plus data from the general Web of Data. He is also a member of the UK government group that is establishing the best practice for data publishing and which has published

Atanas Kiryakov

Founder and head of Ontotext lab of Sirma Group - a Bulgarian software house. Ontotext is a leading Semantic Web technology provider with applications in KM, Semantic Web, EAI, Business Intelligence, e-Government, telecommunications, life sciences, media monitoring and online recruitment.

Kiryakov joined Sirma as a software engineer in 1993, he joined the board in 2000 and founded Ontotext in the same year. His current research interests are in semantic annotation and search, large-scale semantic repositories and reasoning, (upper-level) ontology design, information extraction, IR, object consolidation. He is an organizer and a member of program committees of a number of international forums and author of more than 20 articles and book chapters.

Dominic Oldman

Dominic is Deputy Head of Information Systems and leads the British Museum’s IS Development section. He managed the implementation of the Museum’s current Collection Online system and web site. He specialises in application integration architecture and business process management.
He is the Principal Investigator of ResearchSpace, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation project. The objective of ResearchSpace is to create an online research and publication environment that combines collaboration and research tools with harmonised semantic data sourced from the cultural heritage and arts community.

Leif Isaksen

Leif specialises in ICT-based research on the use and conception of geographic space in the ancient world with a particular interest in Linked Open Data approaches. He is completing a Computer Science PhD on Linked Archaeological Data at the University of Southampton and will shortly commence a Research Fellowship in the Department of Archaeology. He is an Investigator on the Google Ancient Places (GAP) project which is semantically tagging geographic references in classical texts within the Google Books corpus.

Prior to his doctoral studies he was Senior IT Development Officer at Oxford Archaeology. He moderates the Antiquist IT and Cultural Heritage online community and founded the InterFace Technology and Humanities international symposium series, now in its third year. He is also working on a computational and spatial analysis of Claudius Ptolemy’s Geography.


Jonathan Whitson Cloud

Jonathan is the Technical Support Officer to the British Museum's
Documentation Section. He has had similar roles with Tate, The National
Portrait Gallery and Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton.