Linked Irish Traditional Music Resources Available at ITMA

We have received the following from Lynnsey Weissenberger (Irish Traditional Music Archive):

The Linked Irish Traditional Music (LITMUS) project at the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) produced innovative linked data tools to enable wider access to traditional music and dance. Led by ITMA Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow Dr Lynnsey Weissenberger, the LITMUS project was an ambitious, 2-year undertaking to take Irish traditional music and dance into the cultural heritage linked data landscape. It focused on the development of the first ontology for Irish traditional music and dance, now available at

TG4 Gradam Ceoil performances of the past 20 years are now available for the public to search and explore as linked data at The metadata from these performances were generated as part of a collaboration between ITMA and TG4, which resulted in a joint digital archive launched in July 2018. With assistance from The Insight Centre for Data Analytics, this has been transformed into a linked data set using the LITMUS project tools.

LITMUS, Linked Irish Traditional Music, project results (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action grant number 750814) were generated with the assistance of EU financial support.

Linked data ontologies are used to create machine-understandable models of knowledge areas. The LITMUS ontology is an extension of FRBRoo, an ontology designed for application in museums and libraries. With an additional 38 classes and 77 properties, the LITMUS Ontology creates a solid framework for describing traditional music and dance collections, performances, and contexts. To compliment the ontology, Dr Weissenberger also developed three bi-lingual thesauri to detail instruments and tune types used in Irish traditional music. In her research at ITMA, Dr Weissenberger examined numerous album notes by musicians of the past 40-50 years to analyse how musicians described relationships within the tradition. She also consulted many written reference sources to determine terminology, organisation of concepts, and overall structures of music and dance.

LITMUS has made the first steps toward enabling greater access to ITMA’s collections. Tools developed as part of the LITMUS project will allow ITMA to describe collections in even greater detail, and can make explicit the relationships we know are there – they can be documented by using the LITMUS ontology and thesauri. Within LITMUS, we can account for renderings of the same or similar melody across many different forms of music, and even into related dance forms. We can account for similarities in personal repertoire between musicians and dancers, such as one singer knowing the same version of a song sung by another. This empowers our library and archival cataloguing work with the means to describe what occurs within traditional music and dance. This will give ITMA’s users the ability to make new connections between resources.

More Information:
Visit to view the ontology, thesauri, and the linked data pilot using Gradam Ceoil performance data. For any enquiries, please contact Maeve Gebruers, Archivist and PR Officer, Irish Traditional Music Archive at or +353 (0)1 661 9699.


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