Making archive data usable

A new method from the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons allows archive data to be converted into linked open data. This opens up opportunities for using research data in new contexts.

Text: Andrea Bertino, published on 10.10.2022

The goal: making existing, freely usable research data locatable and usable for secondary research. Metadata is greatly important here. The key is that it has to be coded and linked according to a machine-interpretable system. In this case we refer to ‘linked open data’ (LOD). When existing metadata can be easily and systematically converted into LOD, it has great benefits for science.

In the latest SWITCH Innovation Lab, the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons used a new method to convert metadata from the Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire Lausanne BCUL’s Patrinum archive into LOD. The method can be transferred to any archive almost automatically.

Link archives together

‘This SWITCH Innovation Lab helps to better link Open Data in libraries and archives. That's crucial for future research,’ explains Tobias Wildi, lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons and Project Manager of the Innovation Lab. Using standardised coding and linking methods allows data inventory from archives to be linked together. This is a cost-effective and efficient means of reusing valuable research databases to gain new knowledge.



'This SWITCH Innovation Lab helps to better link Open Data in libraries and archives. That's crucial for future research.'

– Tobias Wildi, Lecturer for Archival Science, University of Applied Sciences Grisons FHGR

Making research data usable with Innovation Labs

SWITCH Innovation Labs represent different forms of agile collaboration. Specialists from the Swiss education, research and innovation community work with SWITCH in a test environment, exploring innovative methods that gradually bring them closer to the vision of a research data connectome.

About the author
Andrea   Bertino

Andrea Bertino

Andrea Bertino joined SWITCH in September 2020 as Senior Project Manager for Open Science and Research Data. After completing his PhD in philosophy, he worked as a junior researcher at the Universities of Greifswald and Regensburg, and then at the University Library of Göttingen within the infrastructure projects HIRMEOS and DARIAH-DE.


Linked Open Data (LOD)

The term ‘linked open data’ refers to all data sets that are available without restriction for free use, distribution and further application in the interests of society. They are connected to each other through the World Wide Web. They are set up with coding and linking standards so that machines can interpret LOD correctly in terms of meaning.

Research Data Connectome project

Accessible, usable research data is the key resource for safeguarding the strength of Switzerland’s innovation and research capabilities. The issue of how to make this research data widely available and sustainable to use as part of the national research capacity led to the idea of a ‘research data connectome’.

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