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This site describes an experimental service that provides the RAMEAU subject headings as open linked data. This site, a result of the TELplus project, aimed at encouraging experimentation with Rameau on the semantic web. The underlying vocabulary repository has been described in the following paper:

Lourens van der Meij, Antoine Isaac, Claus Zinn. A Web-based Repository Service for Vocabularies and Alignments in the Cultural Heritage Domain. Proceedings of the 7th Extended Semantic Web Conference, (ESWC). Heraklion, Greece, 2010. Paper, Slides

February 2012: reference RAMEAU data now served at!

Three years after we started it, our RAMEAU service has lost most of its raison d'etre, while proving its relevance: the data for the RAMEAU subject headings is now served as Linked Open Data directly from the site of BnF, the French national library! You can access it via Some documentation on how to use the production service is available here.

To orient data users to the reference site at BnF, all RAMEAU concept URIs that we minted in the domain now redirect to (HTTP 303 redirection code). For example, if you request data for, you will be redirected to

We continue to serve the old RAMEAU data on our CATCH vocabulary repository, as a demonstration for the features of that service. And this page still describes the data that is presented on that vocabulary repository—as well as the one on, since the latter draws inspiration from the former. But from a technical Linked Data perspective, there is no connection between the RAMEAU/STITCH URIs and the CATCH service.


RAMEAU Concepts are described using the SKOS model. Each concept comes with labelling information (either preferred or alternative labels) but also semantic relations to other concepts (broader, related) and various kind of notes.

What does the data look like?

You can search and browse across the RAMEAU vocabulary using the interface of the CATCH vocabulary repository, or access the data via the Linked Data service at Here are also some example concepts:

Concept (links to Legacy STITCH URI Legacy data on our CATCH repository
Oiseaux (Birds) HTML RDF
Culture HTML RDF
Web sémantique HTML RDF


Concepts are referred to using URIs that contain the ARK identifier for the original BnF subject record, as in, which is now semantically equivalent to BnF's

RDF/HTML content negotiation

This service follows recipe 6 of the Best Practice Recipes for Publishing RDF Vocabularies. Depending a web agent's preference, it can serve RDF/XML (see here for an example) or HTML descriptions of concepts. Note that the HTML pages served by the CATCH vocabulary repository contain RDFa markup, making RDF triples about the concepts accessible for RDFa-aware engines.

Semantic alignment to LCSH and SWD

A part of the concepts served here are semantically connected to the Library of Congress Subject Headings linked data available at and the German SWD linked data available at This relies on 60,000 manual mappings between RAMEAU and LCSH (resp., 20,000 between RAMEAU and SWD) provided by the MACS project. Thanks to them, you will be able to "follow your nose" between one vocabulary and the other, in a typical Linked Data fashion.

A snapshot of RAMEAU

The data available through this experimental service is only a snapshot of the RAMEAU vocabulary, obtained in 2008 for the TElplus project. There are therefore minor discrepancies with the most recent version of the vocabulary, as accessible from the BnF websites.


The legacy RAMEAU version served on the CATCH vocabulary service contains 157,280 concepts, of which 96,825 correspond to common nouns, 51,646 to geographic names, 2976 to persons, 3419 to collective bodies, 2296 to titles and 123 to chronological subdivisions.


Please send any remark or questions to Antoine Isaac


The background SKOS service this sites relies on, as well as the redirection mechanisms, are the work of Lourens van der Meij. The SKOS conversion of RAMEAU was produced by Antoine Isaac, with the help of an enthusiast BnF team including Françoise Bourdon, Anila Angjeli, Thierry Bouchet, Emmanuelle Bermès and Michel Minguam -- the latter two playing also a key role in having this experimental site blessed by BnF and the RAMEAU Executive Committee. We are immensely thankful to Patrice Landry, Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers and Geneviève Clavel, from the MACS team, to have contributed the MACS mappings to this service. An updated version of the MACS data, with links to the German SWD published as linked data, was provided by Lars Svensson from DNB.

Last but not least, this site, even though based on a completely different infrastructure, owes much to the groundbreaking, the first attempt (a work lead by Ed Summers) to make the LCSH available as linked data, as described in this paper presented at the Dublin Core 2008 conference. We would like to thanks Ed, but also Clay Redding and Barbara Tillett for the fruitful discussions that have taken place during our parallel efforts on LCSH and RAMEAU.