Crowdsourcing Linked Data on listening experiences through reuse and enhancement of library data

Adamou, Alessandro; Brown, Simon; Barlow, Helen; Allocca, Carlo and d’Aquin, Mathieu (2019). Crowdsourcing Linked Data on listening experiences through reuse and enhancement of library data. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 20(1) pp. 61–79.



Research has approached the practice of musical reception in a multitude of ways, such as the analysis of professional critique, sales figures and psychological processes activated by the act of listening. Studies in the Humanities, on the other hand, have been hindered by the lack of structured evidence of actual experiences of listening as reported by the listeners themselves, a concern that was voiced since the early Web era. It was however assumed that such evidence existed, albeit in pure textual form, but could not be leveraged until it was digitised and aggregated. The Listening Experience Database (LED) responds to this research need by providing a centralised hub for evidence of listening in the literature. Not only does LED support search and reuse across nearly 10,000 records, but it also provides machine-readable structured data of the knowledge around the contexts of listening. To take advantage of the mass of formal knowledge that already exists on the Web concerning these contexts, the entire framework adopts Linked Data principles and technologies. This also allows LED to directly reuse open data from the British Library for the source documentation that is already published. Reused data are re-published as open data with enhancements obtained by expanding over the model of the original data, such as the partitioning of published books and collections into individual stand-alone documents. The database was populated through crowdsourcing and seamlessly incorporates data reuse from the very early data entry phases. As the sources of the evidence often contain vague, fragmentary of uncertain information, facilities were put in place to generate structured data out of such fuzziness. Alongside elaborating on these functionalities, this article provides insights into the most recent features of the latest instalment of the dataset and portal, such as the interlinking with the MusicBrainz database, the relaxation of geographical input constraints through text mining, and the plotting of key locations in an interactive geographical browser.

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