Exposing Publishers as Linked Data: a Pilot Project

The Sheet Music Consortium is exposing music publisher information extracted from aggregated metadata as linked open data (LOD). We have chosen publishers as the focus of this pilot project in order to provide additional information in a dimension that is of great importance in music publishing history, but which is often ignored. The roles of performers, composers, lyricists and publishers are more fluid in the sheet music domain than is typical in more formal publications, so adding an LOD layer that exposes some of these relationships has the potential to create valuable new resource for users and researchers. The inclusion of address information in many bibliographic records for digitized sheet music will also allow us to expose standardized information that is not normally available to end users in an actionable way, such as displaying locations on maps.

We are using OpenRefine and Voyeur/Voyant to identify and normalize names of publishers across all the aggregated SMC collections. Given the imperative for a successful publisher to have an established name we can assume that changes in name were not taken lightly, although addresses might change, so we are assuming that changes in authority and ownership in a publishing firm are indicated by substantial changes in the name, but not by a change in address.

Unique identifiers and permanent URIs for publisher entities are created using the University of California Curation Center’s EZID service. Each of these IDs has an associated permanent URL that will resolve to a web page with a link to an RDF record for that publisher. Normalized publisher names are written back into the Consortium data as “user supplied” data. In addition, RDF records are being constructed for each publisher.

Normalization of publisher names in the Consortium data set, extraction of date ranges and addresses, and publication of these relationships as linked open data will both enhance the services provided directly through the SMC website, and provide a powerful set of links between Consortium data and various other information resources, both bibliographic and otherwise.

Normalized publisher data will be added to SMC metadata records on an ongoing basis, with LOD records link here when they are available. Publishers’ records in progress are:

Charles H. Ditson(Search)
Feist & Frankenthaler
Francis, Day & Hunter
Harms, Inc.(Search)
J. E. Ditson & Co.(Search)
Kalmar & Puck
Kalmar & Ruby Music Corp
Kalmar Puck & Abrahams( RDF/XML)
Leo Feist(Search)
Maurice Abrahams Music Co.
Oliver Ditson & Co.(Search)
Parker & Ditson(Search)
T. B. Harms & Francis, Day & Hunter(Search)