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Doug Tudhope of the Hypermedia Research Unit (University of Glamorgan) reports how the SENESCHAL Project has enabled some cultural heritage thesauri and vocabularies to become available as Linked Open Data.

A key element in meeting the objectives of ARIADNE WP15 (Linking Archaeological Data) is the provision of archaeological terminology (vocabularies and thesauri) as Linked Data. The outcomes of the SENESCHALproject provide some of the important first steps for ARIADNE along this path. SENESCHAL (Semantic ENrichment Enabling Sustainability of arCHAeological Links) is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Follow on Fund programme, and builds on previous project outcomes (STAR/STELLAR) that include the publication of major archaeological excavation datasets as Linked Data, aligned to an extension of the CIDOC-CRM for the archaeological domain. It is led by the University of South Wales (formerly University of Glamorgan), in collaboration with co-investigators the Archaeology Data Service.

With English Heritage, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the project team recently  announced that cultural heritage thesauri and vocabularies are freely available as Linked Open Data as a preliminary outcome of the SENESCHAL project at:  http://www.heritagedata.org.

RESTful web services make the vocabulary resources accessible and searchable. They are also available for download in SKOS (and PDF) format. A series of case studies will explore use of these web services as part of indexing tools and widgets. In the next phase, ADS will go on to make immediate use of the outcomes. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/blog/2013/07/seneschal-value-to-the-ads/

The current vocabularies are English language (with some Gaelic terms) and include concepts relating to monument types, archaeological objects, events and time periods and maritime craft. Further ARIADNE work will go on to make other language vocabularies available as Linked Data and to provide mappings between the vocabularies to facilitate multi-lingual access. Major national thesauri and vocabularies have been widely used as informal standards, but until now have lacked the persistent Linked Open Data (LOD) URIs needed to allow them to act as vocabulary hubs within archaeological infrastructure.