Phase 2 of the Linked Digital Future initiative began amidst a crisis unseen before. With a performing arts sector entirely shut down, there were suddenly no live performances requiring digital discoverability. However, the fundamental needs that the LDFI had sought to address were still present. And new needs emerged.
Here’s an overview of what we accomplished between April and September 2020.
- Culture Creates accelerated the development of the Artsdata.ca knowledge graph.
- The Artsdata.ca data model includes new schema properties and was mapped to several ontologies. Data from Wikidata, Artsdata, and DBpedia can now be used interchangeably.
- They prototyped software to do Named Entity Recognition (NER) of “artists/organizations” and “locations” on web pages. This will enable attribution of unique persistent IDs and generation of rich metadata about Canadian artists.
- The Artsdata.ca Query API can support search for millions of artist names across knowledge bases (Artsdata.ca, Wikidata, DBpedia, MusicBrainz, etc.).
- The “Culture in Time” website provided a proof of concept in view of the creation of a calendar for cultural events drawing on data from decentralized sources.
- By September 1, 2020, the Artsdata.ca knowledge graph was storing 70,000 URIs of performing arts entities and close to one million RDF triple statements (subject-predicate-object). This is twice as much as in March 2020.
- Culture Creates continued to work with Digital Discoverability cohort members, as each one was relaunching their programming.
- Modelling activities continued at the international level in conjunction with the Linked Open Data Ecosystem for the Performing Arts initiative. Thanks to the leadership of the Bern University of Applied Sciences, 37 participants from 15 countries participated in workshops. We found a common desire to harmonize data models.
- CAPACOA partnered with Conseil québécois du théâtre and La Cogency to undertake a series of training, population and modelling activities in Wikidata. 130 participants attended our first three French and English Wikidata workshops. Good practices were added to the WikiProject Performing arts.
- The Digital Navigation Program has already exceeded its target of coaching clients, with a total of 30 organizations receiving coaching services. That’s a total of 192 hours of individual coaching. Focus areas for coaching included: Digital pivot research and support, Digital presence update, SEO and discoverability, Operations and digital infrastructure, Digital strategy.
- On top of Wikidata workshops, we delivered four additional knowledge sharing events, reaching 97 participants.
What we learned
Here are a few important lessons learned at the mid-point of phase 2.
- The testing of different event and schema WordPress plugins by Jai Djwa revealed that no single plugin or combination of plugins could deliver complete Schema.org structured data for performing arts events. This comforted us in our resolve to develop data extraction, transformation and republishing applications with Culture Creates. Applications such as Footlight and Wringer deliver most exhaustive schema structured data for offline, online and hybrid events.
- We already knew that Google relied heavily on Wikidata and other open knowledge bases to populate its knowledge cards. We had observed in the past that Google was citing Wikidata descriptions verbatim in knowledge cards. As we created new Wikidata items for theatre artists, we further observed that Google will sometimes disregard a Wikidata description and will rather choose to craft its own knowledge card description using Wikidata statements (this is consistent with a recent study indicating that Google rewrites most meta descriptions in search results). But Google will only trust a Wikidata statement if it is referenced with a source. This is an extremely important finding for artists and arts organizations. If you want to have a say over what Google reports about you, make sure you have a well populated and referenced Wikidata item.
As live performance events slowly resume across the country, so will our data extraction – and related prototyping – activities. We will do so in conjunction with the delivery of our Digital Navigation Program and in partnership with the ArtsBoost pilot program. We will also continue to develop new partnerships with data providers and data consumers.
Our Wikidata workshop series with Conseil québécois du Théâtre and La Cogency will continue right up until March. And as modelling issues arise, we’ll solve them one by one with the support of our advisory committee and the LODEPA community. Expect good practices and any outstanding modelling issues to be posted on the Wikidata: WikiProject Performing arts in coming weeks and months.