Evaluating the success of vocabulary reconciliation for cultural heritage collections



The concept of Linked Data has made its entrance in the cultural heritage sector due to its potential use for the integration of heterogeneous collections and deriving additional value out of existing metadata. However, practitioners and researchers alike need a better understanding of what outcome they can reasonably expect of the reconciliation process between their local metadata and established controlled vocabularies which are already a part of the Linked Data cloud. This paper offers an in-depth analysis of how a locally developed vocabulary can be successfully reconciled with the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and the Arts and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) through the help of a general-purpose tool for interactive data transformation (OpenRefine). Issues negatively affecting the reconciliation process are identified and solutions are proposed in order to derive maximum value from existing metadata and controlled vocabularies in an automated manner.