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"A Case Study of the David Fanshawe World Music Archive." K. Morgan. D. Pennington. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2019. Download PDF (BibTeX) ILS

Libraries, archives and other cultural heritage institutions are trying to become more connected and there is a concern that smaller collections will become increasingly overlooked in the future. This dissertation examines the case of the David Fanshawe World Music Archive - a small but significant collection of sound recordings, photographs, journals and other accompanying material - to explore the feasibility of the Archive implementing some kind of Linked Data system to make it more accessible online. Through a case study of the Archive and interviews with its staff and with four other libraries, the research develops a wider understanding of the current situation in music libraries and archives and their readiness for developing accessible online presences. Online catalogue creation and digitisation projects are discussed.

The dissertation explores Linked Data as a key element in the creation of the Semantic Web/Web 3.0. It highlights the processes and concepts involved in Linked Data but finds that libraries in general and small libraries and archives in particular, are a long way from being able to use Linked Data in their catalogues. Nevertheless, the steps which are being taken to making collections available online are explored. These are found to be potentially valuable in themselves and to be important stepping stones which, if set in place appropriately from the start, may be essential in allowing an easier transition to online accessibility and ultimately to engagement in the Semantic Web at a future point, if small institutions choose to go down that route.

The complementary roles of librarians and tech specialists are highlighted. While some librarians and archivists may be wary of the technical aura surrounding Linked Data, their expertise in areas such as vocabulary control, ontologies and cataloguing are essential if the potential of the Semantic Web is to be fulfilled.

The dissertation makes specific recommendations for the Fansahwe Archive relating to its current and future projects and draws wider conclusions for the library and cultural heritage sectors in general. Wider recommendations include collaboration amongst institutions and the community of users, and a role for organisations such as CILIP, IAML and MLA in promoting a librarian-friendly Linked Data OPAC system and a World Music focused ontology.

Cataloguing -- Digitisation -- Linked Data -- Music Libraries and Archives -- Ontology -- Semantic Web