Linked Data

Linked Data is about communities agreeing on the meaning of their data and sharing it in a massively networked information space. This vision is taking shape in many sectors, including e-commerce, medicine, scientific research, and government services. OCLC Research is a leader in driving this transformation in the library community.

Community Discussion & Standards Development

OCLC researchers are committed to the development of library linked data through engagement with standards bodies and community discussion. This work produces reports, white papers, webinars, and proposals. It is also organically connected to our own research projects; see the Linked Data Research page for more detail.

OCLC participation in Grant-Funded Projects

Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade
Principal Investigator: Dean Rehberger, director of Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at MSU, Michigan State University
OCLC Advisory Board member: Jeff Mixter
Started 2018 Funded by the Mellon Foundation.

Archives and Special Collections Linked Data Review Group
OCLC Lead: Karen Smith-Yoshimura
Working in collaboration with OCLC Research Library Partnership representatives from the rare book, archives, and special collections communities, OCLC will facilitate a series of virtual discussions to gather information that needs to be reflected in linked data approaches.

International Image Interoperability Format (IIIF)
"..defines several application programming interfaces that provide a standardized method of describing and delivering images over the web, as well as ‘presentation-based metadata’ about structured sequences of images. If institutions holding artworks, books, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, scrolls, single sheet collections, and archival materials provide IIIF endpoints for their content, any IIIF-compliant viewer or application can consume and display both the images and their structural and presentation metadata.” Source: Wikipedia

OCLC Research Library Partnership Metadata Managers Focus Group
OCLC Lead: Karen Smith-Yoshimura
The group discusses metadata management issues of common interest to research libraries and OCLC, and initiates working groups to propose solutions. Linked data is a frequent topic.

The Program for Cooperative Cataloging
Since 2014, the PCC has addressed many issues involving the transition from MARC to linked data. In June 2017, the Linked Data Advisory Committee (PCC LCAC) issued the report: Strategic Directions, January 2018-December 2021, which states, "It is time to move beyond knowledge and skills related to linked data and into implementation." Three of the six strategic directions identified in the report apply to linked data:

  • apply understanding of linked data;
  • accelerate the movement toward ubiquitous identifier creation and identity managementa at the network level;
  • expand use of linked data vocabularies to augment, and where feasible to replace, existing metadata practices.

OCLC linked data researchers are participating in three PCC task groups that are advancing these priorities. We are currently working with the Task Group on Identity Management in NACO to design and conduct two pilot tests:

  • The identity management workflow in Wikidata
  • The creation and use of linked-data URIs in MARC bibliographic and authority records. OCLC Research lead: Jeff Young
Visual Resources Association

VRA Cataloging and Metadata Standards Committee
OCLC Committee Member: Jeff Mixter
"…a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to furthering research and education in the field of image management within the educational, cultural heritage, and commercial environment.” Source:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
OCLC Advisory Board member: Andrew K. Pace

Completed Projects

OCLC participation in Grant-Funded Projects

  •  Funded by IMLS
    • Getting Found
      Principal Investigator: Kenning Arlitsch, Dean of the Libraries, Montana State University
      OCLC leads: Jean Godby and Jeff Mixter
    • Measuring Up
      Principal Investigator: Kenning Arlitsch, Dean of the Libraries, Montana State University
      OCLC lead: Jeff Mixter
      Started 2014
    • Shareable Local Authorities
      Principal Investigators: Chew Chiat Naun and Jason Kovari, Cornell University Library
      OCLC leads: Jean Godby and Janifer Gatenby
  • Funded by the Mellon Foundation

The Program for Cooperative Cataloging

Linked Data Blog Posts

Explore OCLC Research's Linked Data ideas, thoughts, data, and projects on our blog Hanging Together.

Read Linked Data Posts

OCLC linked data strategy

LExpand influence and reach with linked data and OCLC

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