Bridging the Gap Between Data & Audiences (part 1): Background for Creating an Open Data Source for Kent Cultural Events

One of the main goals of Culture Kent is to provide a streamlined method for cultural events to be listed online. This will provide many opportunities for broadening the potential audience, publicising cultural events, and including smaller organisations. However, there are many steps required before this becomes a realisations.

Image Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary (photo: Manu Palomeque)

First, all potential cultural organisations need to use the same terms to describe variables such as their customer, event type, date, time, duration, and location. When listed on a website using HTML, the code all websites are written in, these terms will have property tags. Common HTML tags are, used to indicate the start of html code, and , which indicates an image. As you can see, HTML tags let webcrawlers (they are on the internet and an read websites) know what types of elements are used in a website.

Even more specific tags can be used, and these are called metadata. Like HTML tags, they need to be consistent to make it easy for webcrawlers to identify similar tags. So when an event is listed online, additional tags can be included in the HTML. These types of tags would enable organisations to easily find cultural event data on websites and include the events to their own websites’ calendar of events and potentially build apps to engage audiences and develop a datapool of cultural event information that is accessible to the public (open data). Although great things are possible, there still needs to be a standardised method of attributing cultural events data online.

Currently, schema.org already provides some vocabulary for Event Data, cultural events might require more specific or additional terms. Culture Kent is working with Deeson and a Steering Group chaird by Visit Kent to try to figure out how to best create a standardised vocabulary for cultural event data.

Have you run into similar problems of creating a schema for your events data?  Do you know of any other schema that might be useful?  Please leave your comments below!

The next post will examine various technologies that are being considered and how they work towards the our goals.

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