Two days of Linked Data at ELAG
This week I'm attending ELAG (European Library Automation Group) in Prague, Czech Republic. My first two days at the conference have really been focused on Linked Data. The first day I attended a very informative preconference on implementing RDFa for library websites. I spent 10 years working on library websites and the idea of sharing data from library website with other systems has always been near and dear to my heart. So RDFa is of great interest to me because it enables libraries to share data from their website without having to get caught up in trying to produce full RDF. In order to see how RDFa works I wrote a PHP script which queries the WorldCat Registry draws the data out and creates a simple webpage about the library with embedded RDFa. In truth I could have probably easily produced RDF/XML but I wanted to know about how to embed this data in an HTML page so I created RDFa instead.
All of this led me to think a little bit more about how the WorldCat Registry might take take advantage of RDFa. Basically this could happen in two ways:
- Consumption of RDFa - Currently the way in which the WorldCat Registry works is that data is manually added and updated by libraries. Some of the information in the Registry can be rendered in RDFa using existing ontologies, some cannot. For the data that can be modeled with the existing ontologies, the Registry could be enabled to harvest this data from library websites; where possible. This could potentially keep the information more current and streamline workflows for library staff.
- Production of RDFa - It would be technically possible for OCLC to put RDFa into the UI for the WorldCat Registry or the pages for individual libraries that are part of WorldCat.org.
The first full day of the conference was also very focused on Linked Data with nearly all of the presentations focusing on how various libraries and projects are consuming and producing Linked Data. It was really interesting to hear about all the projects, here the challenges that each project faced and learn which Linked Data services (VIAF, Dewey.info) from OCLC projects were using. It is clear from the first day that ELAG that there are a lot of Linked Data activities going on in libraries. This is very interesting considering Ross Singer gave a presentatation entitled "The Linked Library Data Cloud: Stop talking and start doing" at code4lib 2010. I wonder what Ross would say now.
There are two more days of ELAG and I'm sure that there will be lots more interesting presentations and discussion.
Senior Product Analyst