Welcome to VRA Linked Data Project

Abstract: Linked Data has become an increasingly important and valuable way for sharing data across the Internet. It is the basis for the Semantic Web and allows organizations to not only easily share data, but also connect data with other related data. Visual Resource Association (VRA) Core 4 is an XML schema-based data model for cataloging cultural objects and visual resources. Using the existing VRA Core 4 restricted XML schema, a new data model was developed that took advantage of popular domain specific vocabularies. Using popular vocabularies such as Schema.org, helps ensure that data will be interoperable with other data and can potentially help improve visibility on the Internet. Using the data model as a reference, an ontology was developed using Protégé ontology editor. It illustrated how popular domain specific vocabularies can be combined with the existing VRA data model to create a new semantically-rich model that still retains the specificity and detail of the original XML restricted schema. In addition to developing a new VRA data model, an XSLT stylesheet was created that demonstrated how existing XML based records could be converted into RDF data. The stylesheet was used to successfully convert a 4,150 record collection from the University of Notre Dame into RDF triples. The XSLT templates used in the stylesheet were able to not only convert the existing XML elements/attributes into RDF classes/properties but also convert the existing controlled vocabulary terms into functioning http URIs representing concepts. The study successfully demonstrated that existing data models can be enhanced to incorporate Linked Data and that existing datasets of implementation-specific XML records can be converted into RDF triples with properties defined by popular RDF vocabularies using an XSLT stylesheet.

About the project

The project began in August of 2012. The objectives were to map the existing VRA restricted schema into RDF and then create a XSLT stylesheet that could be used to convert existing VRA/XML data into RDF. As part of the project, a proposed VRA ontology was produced and published. Also, an XSLT stylesheet has been created and tested using a collection sample provided by a member of the VRA listserv. The results of the study were published through OhioLink and are also availiable from the Downloads section of this webpage.

Future research

Since the completion of the project, further research is being conducted into how this process can be adapted to other VRA datasets and additionally used for other data models. There is also interest in conducting research to study how using RDFa markup affects search engine optimization (SEO).


05.02.2013 Project is submitted to the LODLAM Challenge.

25.04.2013 Thesis is submitted to OhioLink.

22.04.2013 The developed VRA ontology and the XSLT Stylesheet are published online for distribution and use.