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Introduction and Review of Linked Data for the Library Community, 2003–2011

Transforming Library Metadata into Linked Library Data [Jan 18, 2013]


Copyright (c) 2013 ALCTS CaMMS Research and Publications Committee


Libraries and other cultural institutions are experiencing a time of huge, tumultuous change. Standards that have been in use for decades have come under increasing pressure to either adapt to new circumstances or to give way entirely to different standards. While it is clear that change is happening, what is less clear is where that change is taking us. If MARC and AACR2 no longer serve us, then what standards will serve? How can we adapt to fundamental differences in how our data is used without rendering decades of legacy data completely worthless? We stand in a moment of uncomfortable chaos. We must forge a new path, but where that path might lead, or even what it looks like, is still unclear.

While some do not believe, perhaps, that any sort of change is necessary at all, Coyle points out that library data, despite being saved and accessed via computers, is designed for the use and consumption of humans (2010b, 6). The 2008 report of The Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control observes that “people are not the only users of the data we produce in the name of bibliographic control... so too are machine applications that interact with those data in a variety of ways” (2). Unfortunately, as stated in the Library Linked Data Incubator Group Final Report, library data is not integrated with the Web, much of it is encoded in natural language rather than as data, library standards serve only the library community and no other, and changes in library technology are often completely dependent on the expertise of vendors (Baker, et al. 2011, sec. 3.1). One possible path forward is provided by the standards established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to build the Semantic Web. Linked data, in particular, is an implementation of these standards that seems to fit well with the legacy metadata produced and maintained by libraries and other cultural institutions.

This essay attempts to provide an overview of the current state of the discussion about linked data as well as provide a solid introduction for practitioners who wish to get involved in the conversation themselves. It draws from a range of sources published between 2003 and 2011 and is organized in five sections: An Overview of Library Metadata, An Overview of Linked Data, The Convergence of Linked Data and Library Metadata, Problems with Linked Data, and Looking to the Future of Linked Library Data.

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Publication Year:2013
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Transforming Library Metadata into Linked Library Data
Issue:Jan 18, 2013
Publisher:ALCTS CaMMS Research and Publications Committee
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Want to learn more about linked data? Check out the essay "Transforming Library Metadata into Linked Library Data: Introduction and Review of Linked Data for the Library Community, 2003-2011” by Virginia Schilling, an online publication from the ALCTS CaMMS Research and Publications Committee. This research essay provides an overview and context for linked data, a topic of increasing importance to the cataloging and metadata arenas. Researchers can also benefit from the overview of existing resources. - See more at:
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Subject: Linked Data
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Record Number:19728
Last Update:2014-09-25 08:08:14
Date Created:2014-09-23 15:06:40