On providing semantic alignment and unified access to music library metadata

Weigl, David M.; Lewis, David; Crawford, Tim; Knopke, Ian and Page, Kevin R.. 2017. On providing semantic alignment and unified access to music library metadata. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 20(1), pp. 25-47. ISSN 1432-5012 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

A variety of digital data sources—including insti- tutional and formal digital libraries, crowd-sourced commu- nity resources, and data feeds provided by media organisa- tions such as the BBC—expose information of musicological interest, describing works, composers, performers, and wider historical and cultural contexts. Aggregated access across such datasets is desirable as these sources provide comple- mentary information on shared real-world entities. Where datasets do not share identifiers, an alignment process is required, but this process is fraught with ambiguity and difficult to automate, whereas manual alignment may be time-consuming and error-prone. We address this problem through the application of a Linked Data model and frame- work to assist domain experts in this process. Candidate alignment suggestions are generated automatically based on textual and on contextual similarity. The latter is determined according to user-configurable weighted graph traversals. Match decisions confirming or disputing the candidate sug- gestions are obtained in conjunction with user insight and expertise. These decisions are integrated into the knowledge base, enabling further iterative alignment, and simplifying the creation of unified viewing interfaces. Provenance of the musicologist’s judgement is captured and published, support- ing scholarly discourse and counter-proposals. We present our implementation and evaluation of this framework, con- ducting a user study with eight musicologists. We further demonstrate the value of our approach through a case study providing aligned access to catalogue metadata and digitised score images from the British Library and other sources, and broadcast data from the BBC Radio 3 Early Music Show.

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Additional Information:

This work was undertaken through the Semantic Linking of BBC Radio (SLoBR) project, a subaward of the EPSRC funded Semantic Media Network (EP/J010375/1), with additional support from the AHRC Transforming Musicology Project (AH/L006820/1), part of the Digital Transformations theme, and continued as part of the EPSRC Fusing Semantic and Audio Technologies for Intelligent Music Production and Consumption (FAST IMPACt) Project (EP/L019981/1).


Linked Data; Metadata;· Semantic alignment; Contextual matching; Musicology; Early music

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Computing > Intelligent Sound and Music Systems (ISMS)


30 June 2017Accepted
28 August 2017Published Online

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Date Deposited:

28 Nov 2017 15:26

Last Modified:

21 Dec 2022 14:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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