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French national entities file (FNE): project overview

 The FNE is a project launched in 2017 and jointly steered by Abes and BnF. It aims at setting up an open data – Etalab license – co-production platform between cultural and research public institutions.

 The key objectives are:

  • better integrate into the Web of data reference datastest, such as controlled vocabularies, created and maintained by cultural heritage and research institutions and facilitate their reuse by public as well as private cultural and research professional communities (publishing, music industry …) ;
  • share production efforts in order to improve data quality and reliability, by using intelligent tools ;
  • develop a shared data strategy in the professional community, based on common good practices.

What is the scope of this file?

Holding institutions, in their effort to make their collections discoverable and accessible, identify and describe entities related to their collections : persons, corporate bodies, concepts, places …  The French national entities’ file will bring together in a central database all entities created by holding institutions. It will enable these institutions to create directly in this shared database. The initial dataset will include entities from BnF and Abes repositories :

  • 3 million entities from each repository : persons and corporate bodies, but also works, concepts, events and places ;
  • representatives of all knowledge domains and for all types of collections ;
  • relying on persistent identifiers : ARK, ISNI, ISAN, ORCID …

In the long run, other datasets are likely to join this file : controlled vocabularies from local institutions, from research institutions, from other GLAMs…

In what capacity is it national?

Beyond sharing data production processes between Abes and BnF, the FNE should enable the broad professional community to jointly create and maintain entities related to their collections. It should, at the same time, facilitate the use of these entities in local production environments.

Libraries, cultural institutions (archives, museums…), and other government institutions engaged in the creation, maintenance and diffusion of their reference datasets, are likely to join this platform.

By implementing the open data policy as one of its fundamental principles FNE aims at breaking down barriers between isolated reference datasets in France, in order to favor their availability on the web of data and, by way of consequence, their reuse by any community of users.

Why entities and not authority data?

The FNE constitutes one of the realisations of the broad French national programme known under the name Bibliographic transition as it will fully implement the IFLA-LRM model. In the long run, it will include more than what is currently meant by traditional authority data, it will incorporate the majority of IFLA-LRM entities (Agents, Works, Concepts, Time spans, Places …).

What work programme for 2019?

Over 2019 the FNE leaders will principally focus on the following areas:

  • set up the project governance in collaboration with the future users of FNE;
  • carry out a Proof of Concept to investigate the feasibility of using the software infrastructure of WikiBase to support the FNE.

Why a Proof of Concept on WikiBase?

In 2019 BnF and Abes are launching an experiment focused on testing the possibility to carry out the FNE by using the infrastructure of WikiBase. The decision to conduct this experiment was motivated by the interest to benefit from the WikiBase open source software infrastructure and tools for data alignment and curation. In this respect WikiBase presents a range of advantages:

  • The implementation of the Bibliographic transition programme and the FNE are enabling a major change of perspective with respect to bibliographic information, henceforth viewed as graph of interconnected entities: this is precisely what the WikiBase data model enables.
  • WikiBase is devised for collaborative creation and maintenance of data.
  • WikiBase uses recent full Web technologies, is entirely based on open source solutions, and it community is very active and ever increasing.

Library data made available via such a platform guarantees a better use by researchers.

What timeline?

FNE development (definition and implementation of functionalities and software development) is planned to happen between 2020 and 2022 and its initial deployment over the course of 2023. This setup phase involves only BnF and Abes. It will be followed by a second phase where other partner institutions will gradually join FNE.

For more information

Proof of concept for a French National Entities Platform using WikiBase: call for tender, April 2019

Last updated: avril 3, 2019 at 11:33

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