Linked Open Nordic Heritage


Over the years that I have worked with digital cultural heritage information, I have had the privilege to meet Nordic colleagues in a variety of contexts. On those occasions, it did not take long before we started to talk about how much we would gain from collaborating on a variety of issues. However, despite numerous attempts, we have not really managed to establish a sustainable collaboration.

The past year the discussions have taken a more concrete form, and the topic was raised on how we could go forward and establish a platform for Nordic collaboration.

Our discussion followed two main tracks. Firstly it would benefit the the Nordic countries as well as the European community if we collaborate and put the focus on issues that are relevant from a Nordic perspective., And secondly, we have a shared history with a heritage that is connected across the borders, which have changed many times throughout history.



Ant Simons during a workshop


When we at Digisam in the autumn of 2012 got the opportunity to arrange a conference under the Swedish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, we gathered a group of Nordic colleagues to discuss the theme of the conference and how we could make it a launching pad for concrete Nordic cooperation. The theme, linked open cultural data in the Nordic countries, was an easy decision. The Semantic Web we have today provides us with the technological tools that allow us to link together cultural information in a complex system, to which everyone can contribute, and which enables linking of objects, documents, images, places, people and events in a way that create meaning and context. The Semantic Web can create knowledge through the many stories that can be told.

With all presentations and meetings from this conference in fresh memory, I am glad that we chosed this theme.



Tim Sherratt giving his presentation ”A map and some pins”: open data and unlimited horizons. 


The Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth. said in her speech that she believes strongly in the potential of a Nordic collaboration on digital heritage. She brought up a number of important pre-conditions to achieve the objectives of an open and creative use of digital cultural heritage information: ”It is at the moment when information about our cultural heritage is used that we start to benefit from it. Only then can we see what we get back on our investments. However, this requires that the information is easily accessible and free to use so that the users can become co-creators of our common cultural heritage. ”



Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Minister of Culture


There is a lot that we at Digisam take with us from the days in Malmö for our future work. Personally, I will try to keep as much as possible of the energy that the attendees and speakers brought to the conference. I will also carry with me the conviction that it is the power of information that binds us together. The idea of linked open data seems almost to live it´s own life and is something that we carry with us in our daily work. A good illustration was made by Ingibjörg Steinunn Sverrisdottir in her talk: From being an issue that I had to look for people to talk about it with, the interest for linked open data has increased dramatically only in the past year.


Our moderator, Merete Sanderhoff


I wish to give my sincere thanks to the speakers, the participants, our collaboration partner Media Evolution and Merete Sanderhoff who in an excellent way moderated the conference! You have all helped us to set the direction forward. And to go further, we need your thoughts and ideas about concrete Nordic cooperation. So, tweet, email or contact us by other means. We look forward to hear from you so that we can go forward and together create a platform for Nordic collaboration about our digital Nordic Cultural Heritage.

Rolf Källman