Linked Data and libraries

Jan 1, 0001 00:00 · 406 words · 2 minute read

I’ve spent the past few months completely absorbed by the catalogue as we built a new interface. It’s been exciting and frustrating all at once to get to grips with the possibilities of what we can do with the concept of a catalogue, and what options there are now to expand it (and what options aren’t yet there) and make it more relevant for library users. If you’re not already a subscriber, an email list I recommend is NGC4LIB, the mailing list that discusses ideas about the future of the catalogue as well as some of the software options out there.

Discussion has recently turned to the potential of Linked Data for libraries, and it’s a subject I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about lately. More on my thoughts later, but for now take a look at this spot on post by Eric Lease Morgan -

“Finally, the use of linked data is yet another example of how librarianship needs to change its methods. We still need to describe materials, but we need to do it differently.”

What is exciting, and slightly eerie at the same time, is that the people who are thinking and writing about Linked Data and libraries are all pretty much in agreement about how it works and what the possibilities are for us. Unlike all those messy discussions about ‘what is Library 2.0′ of a couple of years back, there’s agreement about the concept, and good solid debate here about things we can do with it. I think this will make going forward very positive and productive.

Roy Tennant has also recently written about the potential of Linked Data in Library Journal, and the last 3 months’ worth of podcasts from the Semantic Web Gang are well worth a listen for an overview of what different sectors are doing with Linked Data (eg businesses, and government) and has some great insights from people behind the Calais project.

The more I read about Linked Data, the more I think it is something that has a great deal of potential for libraries. This could really be huge. I look forward to sharing ideas on the blog.

In the meantime I’m also keeping my eye on the new service from the Library of Congress which will release LCSH, MARC relator codes and other data as Linked Data (an official release after last year).

Originally published on the blog

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