Research Uncovered—Neil Jefferies on Framing Digital Objects within Context and Provenance

A digital object derives much of its meaning from attributes that are not intrinsic to the artefact itself. A description of the circumstances in which an object was created, and the route by which it came to be to where and how it is now, are prerequisites to an understanding of the object, its significance and meaning. This talk will examine this idea and describe how the use of RDF, and in particular the PROV Ontology, can be used as a generic model that is flexible enough to capture the information required to contextualise almost any digital object in a way that is meaningful to researchers. This applies equally to digital surrogates (and the physical artefacts from which they are derived) as well as born digital texts, data and images.

Neil Jefferies is the Head of Research and Development at the Bodleian Libraries. He was involved with the initial setup of the University’s Institutional Repository, and has subsequently been involved with a number of data repository related initiatives: DISC UK Datashare, the JISC-funded BRII (Building a Research Information Infrastructure) and BID (Bridging the Interoperability Divide) projects, and was a co-PI for the DataFlow and Giving Researchers Credit projects. Neil is Technical Director of the Cultures of Knowledge project and subsidiary country chair of the associated EU COST action, a co-author of the International Image Interoperability Framework and sits on the Steering Group for the Fedora Repository platform. Neil has served on the organising committees of international conferences such Open Repositories, The Preservation and Archiving SIG and Digitalna Kniznica, and runs a regular workshop on Data and Metadata Standards at the Oxford Digital Humanities Summer School.

Previously, Neil has worked in a broad range of technology-related fields ranging from chip design and parallel algorithm development for Nortel, writing anti-virus software for Dr Solomon’s, and developing corporate data analytics and workflow systems for companies such as Accenture, Mars Inc and Thames Water. He has an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and an MBA from Warwick Business School.

Booking: registration is required

Access: If you have a University or Bodleian Reader’s card, you can get to the Centre for Digital Scholarship through the Mackerras Reading Room on the first floor of the Weston Library, around the gallery. If you do not have access to the Weston Library you are more than welcome to attend the talk: please contact Pip Willcox before the event (

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