Title:Art Tracks: using Linked Open Data for object provenance in museums
Authors:David Newbury
Publication:MW17: Museums and the Web 2017

Over the past three years, the Carnegie Museum of Art has been working on Art Tracks, an ambitious project to create a standard for representing the provenance of works of art that works for both computers and humans. We will present a way to represent provenance as structured data, modeled using both the AAM recommended provenance standard and the CIDOC-CRM. This standard will allow provenance to easily work as a human-readable text, a JSON API, and a Linked Data graph.

Once a work’s provenance has been converted into structured data, we have the new ability to use this digitized information to develop insight into not only the works themselves, but the history of collecting. As this history is not institution-specific, we can use this standardized data to connect works across institutions, to tell stories that span history and geography, to enrich the discussion of the nature of collecting, and to provide a powerful example of the utility of Linked Open Data in the museum sector.

We have worked to aid in the adoption of this standard by building a suite of freely released, well documented, open-source software tools that support and build on this new standard. These tools are built with a design philosophy of creating software that is usable across multiple museums, regardless of their existing technology choices.

In this presentation, we will demonstrate how you can start implementing this standard in your museum, and what new capabilities this allows for art history, visitor engagement, and storytelling with the objects in your collection.