These vistas will be explored in a session hosted by Kevin Ford, digital project coordinator at the Library of Congress at next week’s Semantic Technology & Business conference in San Jose. The door is being opened by the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME) that the LOC launched a few years ago. Libraries will be moving from the MARC standards, their lingua franca for representing and communicating bibliographic and related information in machine-readable form, to BIBFRAME, which models bibliographic data in RDF using semantic technologies.
Posts Tagged ‘library’
One sector that has been very active in the adoption of Linked Data is that of libraries. In an effort to highlight this activity, SemanticWeb.com, supported by OCLC and LITA, put out a call last month for work that promoted or demonstrated the benefits of linked data for libraries.
After receiving a number of excellent nominations, we are pleased to announce that Kevin Ford, from the Network Development and MARC Standards Office at the Library of Congress, was selected to showcase his work with the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME) and his continuing work on the Library of Congress’s Linked Data Service (loc.id). In addition to being an active contributor, Kevin is responsible for the BIBFRAME website; has devised tools to view MARC records and the resulting BIBFRAME resources side-by-side; authored the first transformation code for MARC data to BIBFRAME resources; and is project manager for The Library of Congress’ Linked Data Service. Kevin also writes and presents frequently to promote BIBFRAME, ID.LOC.GOV, and educate fellow librarians on the possibilities of linked data.
Congratulations to Kevin!
If you want to learn more about BIBFRAME and the role Linked Data is playing in the world of libraries, join us at Semantic Technology & Business Conference, June 2-5 where Kevin’s colleague from the Library of Congress, Nate Trail, will deliver a lightning talk on BIBFRAME, and Richard Wallis of the OCLC will present From Record to Graph – Exposing a Legacy.
Yesterday we began our look back at the year in semantic technology here. Today we continue with more expert commentary on the year in review:
Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead:
I would mention two things (among many, of course).
- Schema.org had an important effect on semantic technologies. Of course, it is controversial (role of one major vocabulary and its relations to others, the community discussions on the syntax, etc.), but I would rather concentrate on the positive aspects. A few years ago the topic of discussion was whether having ‘structured data’, as it is referred to (I would simply say having RDF in some syntax or other), as part of a Web page makes sense or not. There were fairly passionate discussions about this and many were convinced that doing that would not make any sense, there is no use case for it, authors would not use it and could not deal with it, etc. Well, this discussion is over. Structured data in Web sites is here to stay, it is important, and has become part of the Web landscape. Schema.org’s contribution in this respect is very important; the discussions and disagreements I referred to are minor and transient compared to the success. And 2012 was the year when this issue was finally closed.
- On a very different aspect (and motivated by my own personal interest) I see exciting moves in the library and the digital publishing world. Many libraries recognize the power of linked data as adopted by libraries, of the value of standard cataloging techniques well adapted to linked data, of the role of metadata, in the form of linked data, adopted by journals and soon by electronic books… All these will have a profound influence bringing a huge amount of very valuable data onto the Web of Data, linking to sources of accumulated human knowledge. I have witnessed different aspects of this evolution coming to the fore in 2012, and I think this will become very important in the years to come.
The “publish or perish” model of the academic world has pretty much followed the same pattern since the middle of the last century. It’s about a seven-year time-span from the a researcher’s original “ah-ha” moment, to the publishing of her paper, to the point where a critical mass of citations are formally gathered around it, as others read the work and cite it in their own research, says Andrea Michalek, co-founder of startup Plum Analytics.
“Clearly the world moves much, much faster than that now,” she says, with researchers posting slides online of talks about their work even before it’s published, and tweets referencing those discussions and linking back to the content, for example. “All this data exhaust is happening in advance of researchers’ getting those cited-by counts,” she says, and once a paper is published, the opportunities for online references to it grow.
Linked data is becoming even more interesting to the OCLC, a non-profit, membership, computer library service and research organization of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories around the world. It’s named Richard Wallis — formerly of the U.K.’s Talis Linked Data and Semantic Web Technology company and one of our frequent Semantic Web Blog guest authors — to the position of Technology Evangelist.
The OCLC has as a major asset Worldcat, a global catalog comprising the collections of more than 10,000 libraries and adding up to more than 258 million records and 1.8 billion-plus holdings, in traditional library metadata format. WorldCat.org is the publicly searchable view of their core data in library format based upon library records (Marc records). More semantic web-oriented is other work the OCLC been doing over the last couple of years, Wallis explains, including experiments with using RDF/Linked Data at viaf.org, where the Virtual International Authority File publishes authoritative descriptions of names or organizations, and something similar for the Dewey Decimal Classification system at dewey.info.
In his new role, Wallis will collaborate with members and facilitate projects with OCLC teams as libraries and the cooperative drive efforts to expose WorldCat data as linked data, and will represent OCLC and WorldCat to the global library and web/IT leader communities. The VIAF and Dewey projects certainly provided an opportunity for OCLC to see the benefit of linking things together. On top of that, “the climate for Linked Data and libraries has changed dramatically over the last 12 months,” Wallis says.
Interest was evident at the Linked Data in Libraries event he ran for Talis this past summer, for example, and efforts like the W3C’s Linked Data in Libraries interest group, the Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives & Museums work, the British Library’s work on the British National Bibliography as Linked Open Data, and the Library of Congress’s Bibliographic Framework Initiative General Plan all are adding fuel to the fire.
The opportunity is there for the OCLC to take the lead on Linked Data in the somewhat fragmented library world as those organizations start to hear more and more about the concept. “Linked Data is starting to be something talked about in the library world, but like any other world, it’s still a bit of an enthusiast environment,” Wallis says. As he evangelizes to the library community what Linked Data is about – and to the web community about what the OCLC is doing with its chunk of data that is relevant to the wider Linked Data and Web of Data world – he hopes “to be in at the beginning of a process where those two communities come together to help come up with the best way of applying Linked Data principles to library data.”
In a statement announcing the appointment, Robin Murray, OCLC Vice President, Global Product Management, said, “Richard Wallis is a leader in Semantic Web and Linked Data technology, and we believe he will help the OCLC cooperative extend our efforts to help libraries move to Webscale.”
Data Liberate, the consultancy Wallis began upon leaving Talis, will continue as a personal blogging site. “I still have interest wider than the library community and I believe that those interests can keep me up to date with the wide world and advise my advice into the OCLC,” he says.
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