Linked data descriptions of live performances

by Graham Klyne, Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford

The FAST project is exploring the notion of Digital Music Objects to carry information about all aspects of music, from creation and recording to distribution and consumption.  Live performances place music consumers close to the performers of the music, and offer a particular experience as a starting point for exploring the output of an artist or group.

Our vision for creating Digital Music Objects describing live performances is to create a “Performance Digital Music Object” that augments the interaction between live performers and their audience, extending the experience beyond the performance itself, and providing access to a range of information that relates to the performance and its performers.

Working with the FAST team at Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Lab, and building on earlier work to use linked data to describe the Carolan Guitar’s story [1][2], we have been using Annalist [3][4] to create a description of a live performance given at The Maze in Nottingham by Carmina and the Phil Langran Band.

The linked data model we are developing draws upon terms from W3C PROV [6], CIDOC CRM [7], FRBRoo [8] and Music Ontology [9], and in so doing aims to situate the live performance in a context that includes the music performed, the people performing it and the time and place at which the performance took place [5].  By sharing terms with other linked data descriptions, such as the Carolan Guitar’s story, we also allow the performance (which featured the Carolan Guitar) to be connected with a wider range of topics that could be of interest to the audience present.

We have work in progress to allow the data created using Annalist to be used in conjunction with a user-facing web site that presents the information for audience members to access, and provides a route for audience feedback to the performers.

Creating linked data descriptions of musical objects and events is informing the development of Annalist, which is a tool for quickly creating web linked data using any combination of ontologies.  Annalist is being created as an independent open development, and is being used within the FAST project to prototype linked data models, exploring the use and expressivity of existing ontologies for describing concepts being explored by FAST.

Taking a wider view of FAST project activities, the aim is that the prototyping work with Annalist can provide a bottom-up proving of requirements coming from specific scenarios and user stories, as a complement to top-down design and adoption of ontologies, to reveal any gaps in the adopted ontologies and to guide the design of additional vocabulary terms to fill these gaps.  Annalist may also help to improve time to deployment of applications that depend on newly adopted ontologies by providing rapid prototype tools for data entry and management.

[1] S. Benford, A. Hazzard, A. Chamberlain, K. Glover, C. Greenhalgh, L. Xu, M. Hoare and D. Darzentas. 2016. Accountable Artefacts: The Case of the Carolan Guitar. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1163-1175. DOI=
[3] G. Klyne, C. Willoughby, K.R. Page. Annalist: A practical tool for creating, managing and sharing evolving linked data. Linked Data on the Web Workshop 2016. To appear in CEUR Workshop Proceedings ( Vol-1593.
[6] T. Lebo et al. PROV-O: the PROV ontology. W3C Recommendation. W3C, Apr. 2013. url:
[7] P. Le Bœuf, M. Doerr, et al. Definition of the CIDOC conceptual reference model, version V6.2. Tech. rep. International Council of Museums, May 2015. url:
[8] C. Bekiari, M. Doerr, and P. Le Bœuf, eds. FRBR – object-oriented definition and mapping to FRBRer (version 1.0). 1.0 ed. May 2009, 1.0 ed., 2009. url: