Latin America and Caribbean

Data strategy and linked data

Helping libraries thrive on the web

As library collections shift from print materials to digital formats, and as the web enables ubiquitous and instantaneous discovery of information, library users expect to find and access materials online.   It’s not enough to have pages “on the web”; library data must be “woven into the web” and integrated into the sites and services that library users frequent daily – Google, Wikipedia, social networks.  When information about a library’s collection is locked up behind a specific web site (such as an OPAC), it is often exceedingly difficult for services, such as search engines, to that consume data. Information seekers need to be connected back to their local library resources from wherever they are on the web.

With that said, it is imperative that library data be available in new data formats that are native to the web. It also needs to be exposed to the wider web community, making it easily discoverable by other sites, services, and ultimately consumers.   Bibliographic data stored in traditional record formats has reached its limits of efficiency and utility. New technologies, influenced by the web, now enable us to move towards managing data as entities (works, people, places, etc.)  Library data often encodes some of the most important, unique and authoritative information in the world.  When this information can be referenced as entities, it enables data relationships to be rendered useful in many more contexts.  This drives attention back to libraries from more sources, increasing the relevance of libraries within the wider information ecosystem. 

As a library cooperative, OCLC is at the forefront of linked data discussions and is leading the way in designing and implementing new approaches that re-envision, expose and share library data as entities that are part of the web.  The release of data for bibliographic entities - WorldCat Works - will over time be joined by other key entities. 

OCLC Announces 197 Million Open Bibliographic Work Descriptions

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OCLC is pleased to announce the availability of WorldCat Works. With this release OCLC has created work descriptions for bibliographic resources found in WorldCat, bringing together multiple manifestations of a work into one logical authoritative entity. A work is a high-level description of a resource containing information such as author, name, descriptions, subjects etc., common to all editions of the work.

This release marks the first step in what will be an evolutionary and revolutionary journey, to provide interconnected linked data views of the rich entities (works, places, concepts, people, organizations and events) captured in the vast shared collection of bibliographic records that make up WorldCat.

Interested in learning more about WorldCat Works?

See an example of a WorldCat Work.

Visit our OCLC Developer Network.

We look forward to hearing your feedback and learning about your creative uses of this linked data as our journey continues. Tell us what you think!

Cover of Success Strategies for Electronic Content Discovery and Access

Success Strategies for Electronic Content Discovery and Access, a cross-Industry White Paper, provides practical recommendations for improved usage, discovery and access of e‑content.

Download the report

Libraries and the Informational Future

Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC’s Vice President and Chief Strategist, writes about “Libraries and the Informational Future” for the Information Professionals 2050 Symposium, in June 2012 at the UNC School of Information and Library Science.

Download the PDF »

Video: Collective impact and the power of shared data + What the Web wants

OCLC: Helping library users find your collections on the web

Learn how libraries can leverage the power of shared data to increase their collective visibility on the web.

Video: Linked data for libraries

Linked data for libraries

Watch this short introduction to the concepts and technology behind linked data, how it works, and some benefits it brings to libraries.

Video: Tim Berners-Lee on the next Web

Tim Berners-Lee on the next Web

Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web 20 years ago. For his next project, he's building a web for open, linked data that could do for numbers what the Web did for words, pictures, video: unlock our data and reframe the way we use it together.