Linked data

The next evolution of library metadata

Icon: Linked data

Expand influence and reach with linked data and OCLC

As libraries continue to focus on new ways to facilitate the creation and sharing of knowledge, and as the volume and variety of information increases, metadata and metadata expertise is more important than ever. Evolving library data into linked data frees the knowledge in library collections and connects it to the knowledge streams that inform our everyday lives—on the web, through smart devices, and using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).

See what we’re doing to support libraries

How does linked data benefit libraries?

The move to linked data facilitates greater contextualization of information, makes resources more discoverable, provides opportunities to improve workflows, and supports easier integration of library data into other systems and services.

Connect and scale library knowledge

Using linked data, libraries can showcase their value by connecting local resources more easily across systems and to wider information streams—within the library field, across campus and communities, and throughout the web.

Fuel serendipitous discovery

Linked data adds context to the description process and creates connections that can lead to unexpected discovery experiences, like a new approach to solving a complex research question.

Focus on high-value knowledge work

The move to linked data expands librarians’ role as knowledge workers to enhance discovery. It also embeds the library more deeply in knowledge creation and sharing on campus and in the community.

Contribute to the global information ecosystem

Linked data harmonizes library metadata with other data formats and technologies. It makes it consumable by machines and emerging technologies and, ultimately, more findable, indexable, and sharable.

Photo illustation: OCLC Meridian interface

Introducing OCLC Meridian®

Meridian is a WorldCat Entities linked data management tool and suite of APIs that enables the creation and curation of linked data entities and descriptive relationships, forming connections to the existing value in MARC records and other datasets across the global information ecosystem.  

Learn more

Photo: Mary Sauer-Games

“Linked data for libraries requires a stable and scalable infrastructure. We have that with WorldCat. This foundation enables linked data integration and interoperability at scale. And our focus with this effort, like everything we do, is based on collaboration and innovation—a model proven over 50 years.”

Mary Sauer-Games
Vice President, Global Product Management, OCLC

OCLC’s linked data strategic approach

Our library members represent institutions of every size, type, geography, and funding. And we understand our responsibility to help each library proceed at their own pace, based on their own needs and resources. We’re committed to the long-term success of this transition with ongoing community support, training, and collaboration. With WorldCat as the foundation, our long-term strategy focuses on expertise, data, infrastructure, and tools.

Icon: Collective expertise of people

Harness collective expertise

We’ll continue to bring together libraries, other community partners, and OCLC teams to ensure highly valuable metadata expertise connects to and enhances the broader knowledge ecosystem.

Collaborative research

We’ll continue to research the tools, standards, workflows, and strategies for making the transition from traditional bibliographic metadata to fully linked data.

Linked data from OCLC Research

Library partnerships

We’ll partner closely with the global library community to advance linked data initiatives, as we did with the shared entity management infrastructure advisory group.

Learn about our shared foundational approach

Icon: Library metadata

Protect and enhance library data at scale

We’re publishing existing library information as linked data in ways that immediately support better description and discovery of library resources across the web.

Authority linked data

WorldCat Entities is a set of authority data that establishes the context for bibliographic data curation with uniform resource identifiers (URIs) such as Works, Persons, Places, Events, and Organizations. Connections are semantic, like linking a work to locations it’s set in.

Explore WorldCat Entities

Dewey linked data

We’re using the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system and Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST) data to create linked data identifiers for established classifications and subject headings. With these identifiers, libraries will be able to integrate Dewey linked data into other data workflows at the library, enabling exploration of hierarchical and equivalence relationships among data sets and new connections that enhance discovery of library resources.

Icon: Data infrastructure

Build, sustain, and grow linked data infrastructure

We’re evolving WorldCat as the sustainable infrastructure to facilitate linked data integration and interoperability at a global scale.

Bridging data

We’re adding WorldCat Entities URIs to WorldCat records as $1 links in 100, 600, 647, 651, 700, and 758 MARC fields. This enrichment establishes a bridge between MARC data and linked data, connecting data across local systems and workflows. There’s no action you need to take—the new data will be included in WorldCat records exported using OCLC cataloging applications.

A new data model

The WorldCat ontology is a data model that provides critical, authoritative information needed to describe library linked data. It’s designed to meet library workflow needs, create more and better connections between resources, and support library web visibility and partnerships.

Icon: Workflow tools

Integrate linked data into library workflows

We’re creating a set of sophisticated tools to add valuable linked data elements to existing records and workflows while maintaining parallel MARC services and applications for the foreseeable future.

Enhanced cataloging applications

We’ve enhanced WorldShare Record Manager with the ability to look up WorldCat Entities within the existing cataloging workflows and then add linked data identifiers to records. This functionality will also be added to Connexion client.

Record output with identifiers

WorldCat Entities URIs are now included in MARC records exported using OCLC cataloging tools. Individual exports of MARC records with linked data identifiers through WorldShare Record Manager, Connexion, the WorldCat Metadata API, and Z39.50 protocol provide record-by-record access to linked data identifiers. And bulk output is available in WorldShare Collection Manager.

Entities creation

OCLC Meridian®—a WorldCat Entities linked data management tool and suite of APIs—enables the creation and curation of linked data entities and descriptive relationships, forming connections to the existing value in MARC records and other datasets across the global information ecosystem.

From the OCLC Next blog

How linked data can help libraries make more of an impact online

In this post, Jeff Mixter explains how the shift toward linked data isn’t just a technology upgrade, but a long-term strategy for enhancing the findability and accessibility of library resources.

Photo illustation: How linked data can help libraries make more of an impact online

“Any replacement of MARC-based cataloging with linked data services will take time and careful evaluation. We’re in a unique position to partner with libraries at every step. Our approach is inclusive and supports libraries moving at a pace that works for them.”

Gina Winkler
Executive Director, Metadata and Digital Services, OCLC

Photo: Gina Winkler

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Upcoming events

Watch this space for upcoming linked data events

On-demand events

Watch this space for on-demand linked data events