Humanities researchers engage with, analyze, and synthesize heterogeneous bodies of information: information about everything from people and organizations to places and events to concepts and artifacts—as well as the vital relationships between them. This information informs researchers’ investigations of many questions, including: How do the Canadian government agencies impact creative industries? How do global trade routes relate to resource locations? How do Indigenous storytelling cultures negotiate writing and publishing systems infused with colonial categories? How do social identities impact communities?
Although contemporary scholars have unprecedented quantities of material online for addressing such complex questions, their searches for answers are often hampered by the lack of meaningful connections between resources. As a result, most scholars interact with cultural data only through reading—and not by leveraging algorithmic processes to draw on a wider range of evidence. Researchers need a smarter, Semantic Web that builds meaning into machine-readable links to elucidate the diverse interconnections, impacts, and significance of human action and expression.
Semantic Web technologies make the web smarter by structuring and linking data. LINCS uses these technologies to interlink Canadian research and heritage data from across the web, converting, connecting, enhancing, and making accessible previously heterogeneous and siloed datasets. Such linking provides pathways towards new insights through networked knowledge production, both within and beyond Canada.
In mobilizing the cultural record, LINCS is transforming access to human culture. It is enabling new and serendipitous insights into shifting social identities related to gender and indigeneity. It is tracing relationships between commodities and natural resources, and exposing cross-fertilizations and tensions that result from immigration, cultural diversity, and social justice movements. Using the resources and tools produced by LINCS, Canadians will be able to explore and investigate culture in transformative ways, informed by newly accessible books, manuscripts, photographs, periodicals, postcards, music, and more.