FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) Released as Linked Data

FAST, an enumerative, faceted subject heading schema derived from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), is now available as an experimental Linked Data service and is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License.

The FAST authority file, which underlies the FAST Linked Data release, was created through a multi-year collaboration between OCLC Research and the Library of Congress.

The Linked Data approach to publishing data on the web enhances its utility by making references to, and descriptions of, persons, places, things, etc. more consistent and linkable across domains. By using Web identifiers and standardized vocabularies to describe these entities, the Linked Data approach facilitates unexpected re-use and distributed enrichment of the published data.

The release of FAST as Linked Data provides FAST headings in both machine-readable and human-friendly presentations. Each FAST heading is assigned a specific URI (Universal Resource Identifier). For a given URI, users accessing the individual FAST heading with a web browser will be presented a convenient, labeled display of the authority record data for the heading, while computer programs accessing FAST at the same URI may use widely-adopted methods to negotiate for the same information in a choice of several machine-readable formats.

The Linked Data representations of FAST are formatted using the SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) web standard. The Linked Data version of the FAST authorities also incorporates links to equivalent LCSH authorities. In addition, many of the geographic headings have links to the GeoNames geographic database (

One of several enhancements to FAST

This release of FAST is the latest in a series of activities by OCLC Research to make FAST more accessible and useful, including mapFast (, a map-oriented interface that leverages FAST to present library resources based on the geographic focus of the content of material; the FAST Converter (, a demonstration LCSH-to-FAST conversion tool; and an updated search interface to FAST (

Other Linked Data Activities

OCLC has previously released (, an experimental space for linked Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) data, and also made available as Linked Data the VIAF (Virtual International Authority File,, a joint project that explores virtually combining the name authority files of participating institutions into a single name authority service. Furthermore, the Library of Congress (see for example, and several other custodians of important controlled vocabularies have released Linked Data versions of their schemes.

More Information

Full News Release

FAST Experimental Linked Data Service

FAST Activity Page

Linked Data Research at OCLC

Open Data Commons Attribution License

For more information:

Eric Childress
Consulting Project Manager
OCLC Research

Robert C. Bolander
Senior Communications Officer
OCLC Research