Digital cultural heritage standards: from silo to semantic web

Brenda O’Neill, Larry Stapleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is a survey of standards being used in the domain of digital cultural heritage with focus on the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) created by the Library of Congress in the United States of America. The process of digitization of cultural heritage requires silo breaking in a number of areas—one area is that of academic disciplines to enable the performance of rich interdisciplinary work. This lays the foundation for the emancipation of the second form of silo which are the silos of knowledge, both traditional and born digital, held in individual institutions, such as galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Disciplinary silo breaking is the key to unlocking these institutional knowledge silos. Interdisciplinary teams, such as developers and librarians, work together to make the data accessible as open data on the “semantic web”. Description logic is the area of mathematics which underpins many ontology building applications today. Creating these ontologies requires a human–machine symbiosis. Currently in the cultural heritage domain, the institutions’ role is that of provider of this open data to the national aggregator which in turn can make the data available to the trans-European aggregator known as Europeana. Current ingests to the aggregators are in the form of machine readable cataloguing metadata which is limited in the richness it provides to disparate object descriptions. METS can provide this richness.

Original languageEnglish (Ireland)
Pages (from-to)891-903
Number of pages13
JournalAI and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022


  • MARC
  • Metadata aggregators
  • METS metadata
  • Open-linked data
  • Semantic web
  • Silo


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