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Physical (print) copies of surviving Renaissance emblem books are distributed across rare book collections held by libraries in North America, Europe and elsewhere. The goal of Emblematica Online, and of the various library digitization projects on which it depends, is to bring a critical mass of these dispersed primary sources together in a virtual corpus so as to aid in the discovery of and use of emblems in ways to help illuminate Renaissance culture and thought. The ongoing challenge for Emblematica Online is to accomplish this in a manner that keeps pace with, facilitates, and expedites the new and evolving ways scholars seek and use digital information. This paper discusses the use of Linked Open Data (LOD) practices in Emblematica Online and describes some of the key functional, user-facing features of Emblematica Online, using the work done to integrate Newberry’s digitized Emblematica Politica into the portal as an illustrative case study. Among the lessons learned from this work is that libraries do not have a monopoly on pertinent information about persons (and potentially other entities) relevant to the study and analysis of of emblems and emblem books. Moreover libraries in isolation do not know about all the ways primary sources connect with each other and with other external information resources. Integrating LOD best practices into Emblematica Online presents opportunities for emblem scholars to engage beyond the research library, surfacing connectedness, context and knowledge that supplements traditional library resources and facilitates scholarship.

In: Emblems in the Free Imperial City