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Open Data Projects

Virtual Conference

About the Virtual Conference

Projects that are built on top of multiple open data sets are beginning to be more visible to the public. This virtual conference will serve as an expansive tour of a variety of open data projects from academia, local government, and other sectors. Looking for inspiration, useful examples or just the opportunity to learn what’s possible? This virtual event will spotlight novel approaches as well as practical activities.

 Confirmed Speakers include:

  • Tim McGeary, Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies and Technology, Duke University Libraries
  • Scott Ziegler, Head of Digital Programs and Services, Louisiana State University Libraries
  • Anna Neatrour, Digital Initiatives Librarian, University of Utah
  • Jeremy Myntti, Head of Digital Library Services, University of Utah
  • Ann GluskerLibrarian/Research & Data Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine
  • Franda Liu, Project Scientist, NNCO, National Library of Medicine
  • Elaina Vitale, Academic Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region
  • Anne WashingtonMetadata Services Coordinator, University Libraries, University of Houston
  • Rob Sanderson, Semantic Architect, J. Paul Getty Trust
  • Judy Ruttenberg, Program Director of Strategic Initiatives, Association of Research Libraries
  • Chris Erdmann, Library Carpentry Community and Development Director, California Digital Library



Event Sessions

11:00 - 11:10 Welcome and Introduction


11:10am - 11:45am Shout it Out: LOUD (Linked Open Usable Data)


The introduction of the Semantic Web, built on RDF and standards-based, graph-centric technologies, led to a significant shift in the way we think about data. But thinking isn't enough. The introduction of Linked Open Data, with its five stars of excellence, led to a significant shift in the way we use the web to publish data. But just publishing isn't enough either. We are entering the next phase, caused by recognizing that the key missing ingredient is usability of the data by consuming applications. We are moving rapidly towards Linked Open Usable Data. If the data is not usable or developer friendly, then there will not be applications built that use it. If there is no use, there is no value to the resources invested in its creation, publication and improvement.

This keynote will discuss some of the critical technology advancements and adopted best practices that have moved us closer to the goal line; from JSON-LD and, through IIIF and more recently The presentation will contrast both processes and products, with an emphasis on adoption of standards to the benefit of the community. By learning from both successes and failures of technologies and communities, we can better enable the sustainable, decentralized delivery and discovery of culturally significant data and content. To be successful in the missions of our organizations, we must take up the banner of usable data and get LOUD

11:45am - 12:15pm Open Data in Special Collections Libraries; or, How Can We Be Better Than Data Brokers?  


Scott Ziegler

Head of Digital Programs and Services
Louisiana State University

Open data is a growing trend in archives and special collections. Now that the digitization of unique material is common, the reformatting of this material into data for computational analysis is gaining traction. This data allows new interactions with collection material, including mapping, text analysis, and a wide variety of visualizations. In addition to the new possibilities there are new risks. This talk will contextualize library data in relation to recent scholarship on the harmfulness of misrepresentation, the dangers of open data, and ubiquity of surveillance. Lastly, this talk explores some ideas for building workflows and systems to operationalize the process of inclusion and empathy. 

12:15 - 12:45 p.m. Data Curation Network: Developing and Scaling Research Data Management and Curation


Tim McGeary

Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies & Technology
Duke University

Academic libraries have been expanding their research data services in response to growing expectations that research data should be well managed, openly available, reproducible, and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). This presentation will provide an overview of how the Data Curation Network (DCN) is being implemented to enable academic libraries to collectively, and more effectively, curate a wider variety of data types (e.g., discipline, file format, etc.) that expands beyond what any single institution might offer alone.  Supported by a planning grant from the Arthur P. Sloan foundation, the DCN conducted researcher engagement activities at each of the six original partner institutions and iteratively developed a model for distributed data curation.  A brief overview of Duke University's research data services program initiation and growth will be discussed as an example of the relationship between institutional services and the DCN.  The Data Curation Network members are University of Minnesota (lead), Cornell University, Duke University, Dryad, Johns Hopkins University, Penn State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, and Washington University-St. Louis.  

12:45pm - 1:45pm Lunch Break

1:45pm - 2:15pm Linked Data Authority Service at the University of Houston Libraries: Development, Use, and Preparing for Open Data


In 2016, as part of the development of a new digital access and preservation ecosystem, the University of Houston (UH) Libraries established Cedar, a local linked data thesaurus. Using SKOS, Cedar includes terms for subjects, individual and organization names, place names, and time periods found in the UH Libraries’ digital collections and electronic theses and dissertations. While Cedar includes terms from national authority files, it also accommodates locally created terms with emphasis on personal, organization, and place names. Over the last two years, the UH Libraries Metadata Unit has deployed the software and developed strategies and workflows for term entry and use in our digital production workflows. This presentation will outline the development of the tool focusing on the thesaurus design, the use of the application, and the next steps for making our data more openly available.

2:15pm - 2:45pm The Western Name Authority File: An Open Data Approach to Digital Collections Authority Control


The Western Name Authority File (WNAF) project was funded by an IMLS planning grant in early 2016 to explore and pilot a system for developing a collaborative, regional authority file for personal names and corporate bodies from digital collection metadata. As we near the end of the two year grant, we will provide information on the data model we've chosen for our vocabulary, what we've done to collect and reconcile names from a variety of partner institutions, and the emerging vocabulary workflows that we're in the process of developing in order to make the WNAF available as JSON-LD. We will also discuss the platform we are using to make the data openly accessible.

2:45pm - 3:15pm NNLM’s Nationwide Online Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon


Ann Glusker

Librarian/Research & Data Coordinator
Pacific Northwest Region, National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Franda Liu

Project Scientist
National Network Coordinating Office, National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Elaina Vitale

Academic Coordinator
National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region

There is a growing trend in libraries of engaging their communities with information and open data by holding Wikipedia edit-a-thons. During Wikipedia edit-a-thons, participants learn about the culture and norms of this widely used online resource by doing hands-on editing of articles, improving citations and adding new facts. The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) held a health-focused edit-a-thon utilizing librarians’ research skills towards making Wikipedia a better and evidence-based resource in promoting NLM resources. Participants were able to view a customized training from Dr. James Hellman of WikiProject Medicine prior to the one day event. On April 17, 2018 during the network wide online edit-a-thon, participants received online support from NNLM staff throughout the 12-hour event across the nation. At the end of the day, more than 700 edits were done in 111 articles focused on rare diseases. NNLM is planning similar events in future. This presentation will outline the planning process, marketing strategy, event details, evaluation, and future vision for this project. 

3:15pm - 3:30pm Afternoon Break

3:30 - 4:15pm Collaborating to Deliver Open Data at Scale


Chris Erdmann

Associate Director for Open Science
Michael J. Fox Foundation

Judy Ruttenberg

Program Director for Strategic Initiatives
Association of Research Libraries

Libraries and publishers delivering services to those libraries are eager to deliver richer, interlinked data in order to better satisfy the needs of the research and education community. How can we better shape and enhance such data so that scholarly output is made more usable, more discoverable? These speakers will discuss what might be the collaborative gains as well as potential trade-offs in aggregating and distributing such data. 

4:15 - 4:45 p.m. Roundtable Discussion


Moderated by Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Wednesday, June 6, 2018 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.

  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.

  • If you have not received your Login Instruction e-mail by 10 a.m. (ET) on the day before the virtual conference, please contact the NISO office at for immediate assistance.

  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.

  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact to provide alternate contact information.

  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.

  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.

For Online Events

  • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.

  • Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't always 100% reliable.