OCLC and linked data
Meet your users on the open web
Research habits have changed. It’s no longer enough for libraries to simply maintain information resources for users to access. They now have to make the information visible to seekers where they begin their research. WorldCat provides libraries with an opportunity to display their holdings on websites beyond library catalogs in a format that search engines, citation management systems, campus platforms, research portals, and other information websites can read and repurpose.
“OCLC is well placed...”
“As a major data hub, OCLC is well placed to develop linked data services for the library community.”
Chew Chiat Naun
Head of Metadata Creation
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
WorldCat’s unique role with linked data
“...Most trusted sources”
“Historically, libraries are among the most trusted sources of accurate information. As we’ve moved toward a linked data future, that institutional legacy of authoritative data has become increasingly important. At OCLC, my colleagues and I take that deeply to heart. We don’t succeed in every case, but our goal is and always has been the continual improvement of bibliographic and authority data for a world increasingly reliant on those data.”
Senior Consulting Database Specialist, Data Services and WorldCat Quality Management
Dublin, Ohio, United States
The library data in WorldCat encodes some of the most important, unique, and authoritative information sources in the world, such as VIAF® (Virtual International Authority File) and FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology). As linked data, this information can exist in more websites and online tools than traditionally formatted bibliographic data. Librarians can do more with their data to pull information seekers back to libraries from more sources, increasing library relevance in the wider information ecosystem. WorldCat houses more library data than any other source and is constantly evolving to keep up with the changing nature of online research habits.
OCLC's research and experimentation, combined with projects underway by libraries across the world, are revealing that many improvements are possible with linked data. Showing what linked data can do requires a true cooperative effort. We are dedicated to working with OCLC member libraries and partners to reach that goal.
Improving the interoperability of digital materials
As a founding member of IIIF (the International Image Interoperability Framework), OCLC is leading the effort to create new standards for sharing structural metadata about digital images, audio, and video with the library community.
Connecting people with unique digital resources
Our new OCLC Research report Transforming Metadata into Linked Data to Improve Digital Collection Discoverability shares findings from our recent CONTENTdm Linked Data Pilot project. In this pilot project, OCLC partnered with institutions that manage their digital collections with OCLC’s CONTENTdm service to investigate methods for—and the feasibility of—transforming metadata into linked data to improve the discoverability and management of digitized cultural materials and their descriptions.
Creating library linked data with Wikibase
OCLC's ten-month Project Passage pilot let librarians from 16 US institutions create linked data describing library and archival resources in a Wikibase sandbox. The librarians worked with OCLC on a framework for reconciling, evaluating, and managing traditional metadata as linked data entities and relationships. This opportunity revealed the potential of linked data in library catalogs as well as the gaps to address before fully adopting machine-readable semantic data can be fully adopted.
“[We are] re-envisioning the very fabric of the Bibliographic Universe. Linked data, as a monumental development with implications for the future of library resource discoverability, has a lot riding on it. We know it. OCLC knows it. Your library vendors know it.”
kalan Knudson Davis
Special Collections Metadata Librarian
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
27 October 2021
Learn more about OCLC's recent linked data work and the impact it will have on the library community.