LOUD for Cultural Heritage – PhD Thesis by Julien A. Raemy

“Linked Open Usable Data (LOUD) for Cultural Heritage" not only encapsulates the essence of my PhD thesis, but also reflects a passion, as I have been actively involved in both the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) and the Linked Art communities for many years. It describes a vision where cultural heritage institutions and beyond actively cultivate collaboration and enthusiastically embrace community-driven standards that enable semantic interoperability. In cases where implementation of the standards may not be feasible, I advocate that institutions consider adopting LOUD design principles as essential socio-technical practices.

An HTML version of my thesis will be accessible on this site upon its completion, while the research outcomes associated with my PhD can also be found here. If you just want to know more about LOUD, I’ve written a summary about its design principles and community-driven standards.

Context

My journey into the Digital Humanities Lab of the University of Basel began as an undergraduate in Information Science, undertaking an internship that spanned from August to October 2016. This period marked the start of my deep involvement with the IIIF community, a pivotal step that would significantly shape my academic and research pursuits. The experience gained during this internship not only provided me with a solid foundation in Digital Humanities but also sparked my interest in leveraging linked open data and standardised application programming interfaces (APIs) for cultural heritage preservation and accessibility. It was within one of these stimulating environments that I found the inspiration and support needed to embark on a doctoral journey, starting my PhD in February 2021.

The thesis is grounded as part of the SNSF-funded Participatory Knowledge Practices in Analogue and Digital Image Archives (PIA) research project (2021-2025), a four-year interdisciplinary effort, which aims to develop a Citizen Science platform around three photographic collections from the archives of Cultural Anthropology Switzerland (CAS), formerly the Swiss Society for Folklore Studies, i.e. the Atlas of Swiss Folklore (SGV_05), Kreis Family (SGV_10), and Ernst Brunner (SGV_12). The research project is led by the University of Basel (Institute for Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology as well as the Digital Humanities Lab) and the Bern Academy of the Arts (HKB).

I was formally involved within the PIA project between February 2021 and March 2024 as an Assistant at the Digital Humanities Lab. Additionally, starting June 2021, I worked with a 20% position as an Interoperability Specialist at DaSCH, Swiss National Data and Service Center for the Humanities, a position that I held until December 2024. I continue to be involved in the project beyond March 2024, albeit solely through my PhD thesis, as I have started a new position as a Data Scientist at the Swiss Federal Archives. There is more information about the PIA research project and my involvement therein on a dedicated page.

From Working Titles to Final Title

The dissertation had a few titles: