Exploring Wikidata Properties With the Linked Jazz Name Directory

My project is focused on exploring Wikidata as a source of linked data, using data from the Linked Jazz project as a starting point. The Linked Jazz project is focused on exploring linked open data in the context of cultural institutions. Linked Jazz aims to discover relationships between jazz musicians, using a combination of archival materials like oral history transcripts and data from linked open datasets like DBpedia.

At the outset of the Linked Jazz project, a directory of 8,725 jazz-related names was created, utilizing DBpedia as a name authority source. Following a grant to Linked Jazz from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation to create a linked open dataset for Louisiana-based jazz musicians, I wanted to explore how many of the people in Linked Jazz’s existing name directory were New Orleans-based musicians. Additionally, I wanted to look at Wikidata’s 11 relationship properties to see whether any family connections could be made between New Orleans jazz musicians in the Linked Jazz dataset.

I started by downloading the Linked Jazz directory in the form of an N-Triple, a data format used to store RDF, and extracting the names in this directory as JSON. As the Linked Jazz directory already contains DBpedia URIs, I could then use these URIs to query Wikidata for corresponding URIs, as DBpedia’s dataset is linked to Wikidata’s. After extracting Wikidata URIs for the Linked Jazz directory, I then queried Wikidata’s Place of Birth and Place of Death properties, using the results to narrow down the Linked Jazz directory to only those people who were born in and/or died in New Orleans.

Of the 8,725 names in the Linked Jazz directory, 114 people had New Orleans as their place of birth and/or place of death. Once the directory was narrowed down, I extracted all additional Wikidata properties for these 114 individuals, and searched the results for familial relationship properties, as well as Wikidata’s Student and Student Of properties. Unfortunately, Wikidata did not contain much data on the relatives of these musicians; none had Student or Student Of properties, and of the 11 Wikidata relationship properties, I only found one individual with a Sibling property and three individuals with a Spouse property associated with their record.

Because I did not discover much relationship data for the New Orleans Linked Jazz subset, I decided to use Tableau to plot the birth and death locations of all musicians in the Linked Jazz directory on an interactive map. Users can search for specific names on the map, or they can browse through and select one or more names from the Linked Jazz directory.

Tableau Mappings