Robert Hilliker

active 4 years, 3 months ago



Robert Hilliker


Twitter handle

Short Bio

I have a PhD in Comparative Literature from Brown University and an MLIS in Digital Libraries from Rutgers. I got my start in digital-library-land working on the NEH-funded Modernist Journals Project (hand-coding MODS in oXygen, no less) and working part-time at Brown's Center for Digital Scholarship before landing my first full-time library gig in Rutgers Libraries' Technical Services.

I currently am the Digital Repository Manager at Columbia University's Center for Digital Research and Scholarship. Basically, this means I am responsible for the growth and development of Academic Commons (, including everything from soliciting, cataloging, and promoting content for the repository, to working with our programmers to implement new functionalities.

Interest in LODLAM

Burning issue number one for me is interoperable repositories. Knowing that 2/3rds of the traffic to our repository comes from search engines and leads users to an item page, I think there are some easy wins here in terms of serving up suggestions for related content in other open repositories. I've already been working with Tom Johnson, the repository manager at Oregon State U on this and have roped Sean Thomas, DSpace manager at MIT into the conversation, too.

Burning issue number two for me is ensuring that ORCID is implemented in a way that supports repository workflows around name authority work and thereby facilitates robust interoperability. Ideally this work would result in an open author graph that facilitates content discovery (along the lines of Microsoft Academic Search's Co-author Graph, but much more robust–and open).


Library, Academic, Research

Linked Open Data Projects

I manage Columbia's digital research repository. As such, I have a robust background in the creation, management, and use of data, particularly metadata. In the past year, I've presented at SPARC and OR2012 about our work on Academic Commons. The video from OR2012 and the PDF of my poster from SPARC at available at

In the past several months, I've been working on a number of projects involving open data, including:
– serializing our repository data in a variety of formats to improve its visibility and utility (,,
– indexing linked open data from other repositories to provide links to related OA content (see for an example)

In the coming year, we are looking to:
– convert our MODS metadata into MODS RDF and make it available at a SPARQL endpoint
– help LoC refine the draft MODS RDF schema
– collaborate with Tom Johnson at OSU on further refinements to his RDF data model for ETDs
– expand and refine our "related open content" concept for interoperable repositories
– make anonymized usage data from the repository available via an API
– serialize our metadata in JSON
– convert select repository content to ePub format to help support data-mining and other non-consumptive uses
– implement microdata to further enhance the visibility and functionality of our metadata (including support for rich snippets in SERPs)


Columbia University