Semantic Interoperability To access Cultural Heritage


Pilot project: access to Rijksmuseum Masterpieces and KB Illuminated Manuscripts


The first phase of STITCH included a pilot project during which we implemented a webserver that demonstrates the added value of semantic integration of multiple collections.
The collections that are linked by our prototype RDF Multi-Faceted browser are:
the Rijksmuseum Collectie (ARIA)
providing an attractive and educational access to the Masterpieces collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
the Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts at the National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek)
providing information to anyone with a serious scholarly interest in Medieval Manuscripts. But also pleasurable to the occasional visitor interested in finding pretty pictures.

Integrating Heterogeneous Collections

Access to different views
The STITCH demonstration introduces three paradigms for browsing integrated collections using their initial vocabularies: single, combined, and merged. Applying these to the specific ARIA/Manuscripts case we obtain four views providing with different browsing "facets":
Multiple Collection Single View ARIA
Looking at the integrated collections through the lens of the ARIA subject vocabulary, the "catalogue". For example one can view items indexed against "Birds" (directly or via an alignment) by selecting "Animal Pieces" and then "Birds".
Multiple Collection Single View Iconclass
Looking at the integrated collections through the lens of the Iconclass classification scheme used for Illuminated Manuscripts. For example one can view items indexed against "birds" (directly or via an alignment) by selecting "Nature" (whose code in Iconclass is 2), "earth, world as celestial body" (25), "animals" (25F) and then "birds" (25F3).
Combined View
Searching the integrated collections with the combination of ARIA and Iconclass concept schemes. The results correspond to the conjunction of subjects selected in both hierarchies. An example would be searching both for ARIA "Birds" and Iconclass "landscapes in the non-temperate zone, exotic landscapes", here.
Merged View
Looking at the integrated collections through the lens of "new" concept scheme which results from the fusion of Iconclass and ARIA catalogue using the links found during the alignment process.
Mapping Configurations
There are configurations of the single view, combined view and merged view for a number of alignment resources, i.e. configurations that take into account different sets of mapping results, which are described here:
Using the combination of all "Expert" mappings together:
  1. The results of a manual expert alignment done by Rogier Brussee in the context of the Topia project.
  2. An expert selection of correct mappings amongst the results of the S-Match alignment tool for ARIA catalogue and branch 2 of Iconclass.
Using the results of the manual expert mapping from the Topia project.
Using the results of S-Match tool without any selection ("Raw") for the complete Iconclass and ARIA vocabularies.
This configuration contains no mapping; it is convenient to show the effect of different alignments on the current selection.

For now the first access to all views uses the E-ALL configuration containing all available expert mappings. After having selected a facet refinement, one can switch to another configuration by selecting another mapping right below the (blue) header information.


We would like to thank the Dutch institutes KNAW and RKD for providing the Iconclass resources, and Gerda Duijfjes-Vellekoop for helping with these. We owe also the CHIP project people (especially Lloyd Rutledge and Rogier Brussee) and the Rijksmuseum for making the ARIA collection and vocabulary available to us. And of course many thanks to the researchers from the University of Trento (especially Pavel Shvaiko) for sharing with us the effort of applying S-Match to our case study.