Linked Data Across Time and Space: The Challenge of Modelling Temporal Identities and Places

The archival record gives scholars evidence of how people have lived and understood their lives, but what is the best way to leverage linked data without anachronistically flattening those time—and place-specific life experiences? Using the Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada (LGLC) project as a case study, this talk outlines the challenges and pleasures of working with linked data ontologies from a variety of disciplines. The LGLC’s collaboration with a multidisciplinary team on ontology and crosswalk development gives us the power to represent evidence about identity, activism, and social change with more nuance than the impoverished options offered by commercial Semantic Web ontologies. The LGLC is a small-data project by commercial standards: the data we create only needs to let us see patterns in tens of thousands of records to discover how gay liberation ideas were shaped by activists’ and organizations’ local linguistic and gendered conditions, and yet our data has to integrate well with other larger datasets. The talk will conclude with a discussion of methodological caution borne of our knowledge of the development of new data environments and of the silences they can reveal and perpetuate.

Author: 
Institute of Classical Studies
Speaker(s): 
Constance Crompton, University of Ottawa
Event date: 
Thursday, 3 December 2020 - 6:30pm