Dublin, OH -- 24 May 2022. OCLC has completed a project, funded in part by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, to develop a shared entity management infrastructure that supports linked data initiatives in the library community. As a result of this effort, OCLC has released millions of authoritative WorldCat Entities through a publicly searchable website and will continue to partner with libraries to develop the tools needed to fully incorporate linked data into library workflows and improve resource discovery through connections.
Working closely with an advisory group of leading libraries from around the world, OCLC has created and released more than 150 million WorldCat Entities containing descriptions of creative works and persons. These entities are freely available through a look-up website for anyone to explore at entities.oclc.org. Library metadata specialists can begin to look up entity URIs and see how they can make new connections that empower discovery and research—a significant step toward making linked data work for libraries.
As part of the grant, OCLC also created a linked data management tool—OCLC Meridian—and APIs to be released following a development partner phase. OCLC is now collaborating with key libraries as development partners to explore how these tools can best be integrated into library workflows. This development partnership will help OCLC refine and enhance these new entity services so libraries can better manage, edit, and create entities.
"OCLC has been at the forefront of linked data research for years, using our expertise as stewards of library data to guide us through development of prototypes, pilot programs, and partnerships to inform our work," said Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO. "The release of WorldCat Entities helps make linked data work for libraries, and our look-up site allows anyone to explore WorldCat Entities and prepare for the future. We're grateful to the advisory group members for helping to guide this project, and to the Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this important work."
Members of the advisory group worked closely with OCLC over two years to assess and enhance WorldCat Entities, test APIs and user interface prototypes, and provide feedback on the value of linked data in libraries. Their thoughtful insights and commitment to the future of linked data have been essential to helping OCLC reach this major milestone on the journey toward practical library linked data.
Libraries are always seeking opportunities to make scholarly materials and other collections more discoverable on the web. They also want to expand opportunities to connect their collections to other relevant collections. The creation of this centralized infrastructure that provides linked data entities that are discoverable, reliable, and sustainable will provide a critical foundation for libraries working to achieve those objectives. Anyone can begin exploring this infrastructure by visiting entities.oclc.org.
OCLC is a nonprofit global library organization that provides shared technology services, original research, and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research, and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC's WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world's collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff, and partners make breakthroughs possible.