OCLC Partners with Libraries on CONTENTdm Linked Data Pilot Project

Phase one achievements include migrating metadata, tools and features development, and planning for future automation.

Cleveland Expo from Cleveland Public Library CONTENTdm collection
Courtesy Cleveland Public Library

Digital collections in libraries represent unique materials that illuminate our understanding of the world’s cultures, histories, and innovations. Traditional models of item description have resulted in these materials being largely invisible on the internet and hidden from researchers.

OCLC is partnering with libraries on a pilot project to:

  • Make it easier for researchers to find, evaluate, and use digitized cultural materials;
  • Improve library staff efficiency when describing unique content; and
  • Prove the feasibility of a production linked data service.

CONTENTdm is a service for building, preserving and showcasing a library's unique digital collections. The large volume of unique, digital content stored in CONTENTdm offers an excellent opportunity for transition to linked data. Using linked data, the wide variety of data models and descriptive practices across CONTENTdm will be significantly easier to manage for library staff and will provide rich discovery for library end-users and web browsers. Immediate benefits of this project will be the ability to do structured searching across all CONTENTdm repositories and searching and faceting based on authority files and library-staff-defined vocabularies.

In the project’s first phase, which wrapped up in December 2019, the team migrated partner metadata from CONTENTdm into a linked data cataloging platform. Several tools and features were developed and refined with partner input, and planning is underway for automating the data loading and reconciliation workflows for partners. Future project activities include evaluating Wikibase as a platform for creating and maintaining metadata, and on which to build discovery interfaces.

The work is happening in three phases, running through mid-year 2020. Read more about the project.

For More Information

For more information about this work, please contact OCLC Research.

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