Promoting SCUA Archival Collections with the Semantic Web

In the summer of 2014, Oregon Digital, the joint digital collections of the University of Oregon (UO) and Oregon State University (OSU) migrated from CONTENTdm to a Hydra-based digital asset management system. This migration also included the transformation of the legacy metadata into Linked Open Data (LOD), which allows for data in our digital collections to communicate with the “Web of Data” by “linking” resources and creating relationships with other LOD on the Semantic Web. Over 30,000 digitized archival items from SCUA were included in this migration and transformation and now benefit from the metadata enrichment, promotion, and access of LOD.



LOD uses URIs to describe digital items, and the transformation of the descriptive metadata for the archival items implemented URIs from internationally recognized and interoperable controlled vocabularies like the Library of Congress’ Name Authority File and the Getty’s Art and Architecture Thesaurus. This means SCUA’s data is linking directly to these resources and other data sources demonstrating these “linked open data” connections on the Semantic Web. This establishes relationships between our digitized items and other assets from around the world using the same vocabularies and data sources. For computer processing– and researchers– these connections will improve the discoverability of unique and rare collections.

The “O” for Open in LOD means that our data is reusable and downloadable. Users can download the metadata of the digitized items in Oregon Digital by typing “.nt” in the browser address bar on the page of the item. The N-triples that are downloaded contain the URIs that are used to describe the item and link it with other LOD on the web. The metadata contained in these n-triples also has terms and names that are particular to Oregon collections that are now published in LOD for reuse and housed in our URI repository, Names like John Bauguess or Grayson Mathews, both Eugene photographers, now have URIs for other institutions and repositories to reuse, effectively linking collections and information together.


Browse all items in Oregon Digital here, and Oregon Digital’s list of all the collections is here. The images, videos, and audio files from SCUA in Oregon Digital can be downloaded, as well!

Here are some new SCUA collections that have recently been added to Oregon Digital:

Joel Palmer Papers

Lee Moorhouse (1850-1926) photographs, 1888-1916 (recent additions of more photographs!)

Gertrude Bass Warner papers, 1909-1923 (in progress)


Special Collections and University Archives are full of these types of materials and present endless opportunities for discovery and original research. Let us know if you would like to schedule an instruction session or research consultation.


By Sarah Seymore, Digital Metadata Technician, University of Oregon Libraries

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