USC Helping the Smithsonian American Art Museum Upgrade its Online Collection

Though the nature of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art‘s possible partnership with the University of Southern California (USC) remains very vague, the SoCal college is helping Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in a very concrete manner: by helping it to upgrade its online library of some 40,000 artworks.

The Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering is adding the SAAM’s 40,000 artwork records to what is known as a Linked Open Data system, which uses tagging and other data to create more possibilities for interlinking between items, nodes, and networks.

“We are excited about developing and applying our research tools to support the museum community,” ISI assistant professor Pedro Szekely said in a statement. “The resulting tools are generic, will work with any museum’s databases, and they will be made available for free to the museum community.” The integration of the LOD system with the SAAM’s collection could provide a blurepint or precedent, in other words, for the addition of other collections to a broader, multi-institution network.

“We hope several art museums will join in the effort and work with us,” said former Getty Information Project director Eleanor Fink, a consultant on the USC-SAAM project.


— Benjamin Sutton

(Photo via Wikipedia.)