Linking Lives explored ways to present Linked Data. We aimed to show that archives can benefit from being presented as a part of the diverse data sources on the Web to create full biographical pictures, enabling researchers to make connections between people and events. Linking Lives built upon the Locah project. Locah was a Jisc-funded project to expose the Archives Hub descriptions as Linked Data.
The primary aim of Linking Lives was to explore ways to present Linked Data for the benefit of research. The Archives Hub data is rich in information about people and organisations, but many researchers want to access a whole range of data sources in order to get a full perspective for their research. We wanted to recognise that researchers may not just be interested in archives. Indeed, they may not really have thought about using primary source material, but they may be very interested in biographical information, known and unknown connections, events during a person’s lifetime, etc. We wanted to show that archives can benefit from being presented not in isolation, but as a part of all of the diverse data sources that can be found to create a full biographical picture, and to enable researchers to make connections between people and events to create different narratives.
We created a new Web interface that presented useful resources relating to individual people, and organisations. We explored various external data sources, assessing their viability and ease of use from both a Linked Data perspective (adding them to our Linked Data output) and a researcher’s perspective (adding them to the user interface).
The Linking Lives Blog was one of the main outputs, documenting the process in detail. It is now integrated into the main Archives Hub blog.