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A Linked Digital Future for the Performing Arts: Leveraging Synergies along the Value Chain

November 6, 20196 November 2019

Digital technologies and the arts

Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA) in cooperation with the Bern University of Applied Science


Beat Estermann and Frédéric Julien

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This technical report details the research component of the Linked Digital Future initiative (LDFI), a partnership between CAPACOA, Culture Creates, Mass Culture, BC Alliance for the Arts, and the Atlantic Presenters Association. The LDFI aims to “enhance the discoverability of the performing arts” by building a shared knowledge base (also called a knowledge graph) that is open and searchable.

The authors note that there is currently little to no machine-readable data in the Canadian performing arts sector, and existing database tools do not share data easily. On an international level, the research team found very few initiatives that aim to establish a linked open data ecosystem related to “the primary value chain of the performing arts, involving performing arts professionals, production companies, presenting organizations, operators of arts facilities, dissemination platforms, and concert/theatre goers”. Inspired by work in Switzerland, the researchers developed an initial concept model, with its technical details and applicability to the performing arts in Canada outlined in the report.

The research team explored data usage scenarios among 21 stakeholder groups in Canada, including performing arts professionals, ticketing platforms, journalists and reviewers, heritage organizations, researchers, and venues. The data usage scenarios allowed the researchers to identify synergies between stakeholders and overlaps in their data coverage needs. For example, in a linked digital future:

  • “it may be possible for performing arts professionals to curate information about themselves on dedicated platforms and/or on Wikidata / Wikimedia Commons, from which point it can be included in further offerings along the performing arts value chain by production companies and by presenters / promoters.”
  • “ticketing platforms can serve their audiences and the artists better by directly providing relevant, complete, and up-to-date information about the concerts/shows they have on offer. They are able to draw on the knowledge graph in order to aggregate descriptive information (textual descriptions of productions, names of individual performers and contributors), photos, videos, and reviews that have been made available by artists, production companies, presenters, or reviewers.”

Two partner groups, Culture Creates and RIDEAU’s Scène Pro platform, are currently collecting and contributing data to the knowledge graph (at and helping arts organizations structure and link their event information into machine-readable data for discoverability. The report contains detailed technical information about the initiative and examples of how the shared open data ecosystem could be realized. The project website has an interactive demonstration of linked open data and blog articles to help increase digital literacy in this area.

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