In 2016 the Getty Research Institute embarked on a three-year project to remodel the Getty Provenance Index® databases and publish them as Linked Open Data (LOD). The goal of this project is a complete conceptual and technical overhaul in order to provide greater access to the databases and to increase the Index’s use as a leading tool for research.
While these goals look attractive in a project proposal, executing this project has demanded a far larger conceptual shift than many of our stakeholders have yet to grasp. This project compels us to move away from tacit, overlapping data model that has focused on material documents to an explicit, unified model based on making assertions about historical events. How do we reconcile conflicting user expectations that we are indexers of documents versus historians of art transactions and locations? This talk will explore some examples of conceptual friction that have occurred in our project to date. However, it will also demonstrate the kinds of computationally-enabled research questions that can be tackled once such disagreements are resolved.
Matthew Lincoln is a Data Research Specialist at the Getty Research Institute, where he focuses on data-driven research on the history of the art market and computational applications in the study of art history writ large. He earned his PhD in Art History at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2016, using quantitative analysis to study networks of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish printmaking. His work has appeared in The International Journal of Digital Art History and British Art Studies, and he is an editorial board member of The Programming Historian.