Library Linked Data in the Cloud: OCLC's Experiments with New Models of Resource Description

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by Carol Jean Godby, Shenghui Wang and Jeffrey K. Mixter

This book describes OCLC's efforts to help increase the visibility of library collections on the Web through the creation of library linked data—moving from a web of documents to a web of data. It focuses on the conceptual and technical challenges involved in publishing linked data derived from traditional library metadata and aims to achieve a balanced treatment of theory, technical detail, and practical application.


Published by Morgan and Claypool, Library Linked Data in the Cloud: OCLC’s Experiments with New Models of Resource Description includes:

  • a description of the landscape leading up to the linked data paradigm that highlights important milestones in the development of Web standards and the library community's response to it;
  • easy-to-follow descriptions of how linked data models of resources managed by libraries are derived from library standards for authority and bibliographic records;
  • an extended argument that the publishing of linked data is fundamentally about creating descriptions of entities that are important to users of libraries and publishing globally unique, persistent identifiers for them; and
  • a progress report on the implementation of the linked data paradigm by OCLC and the broader library community.

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In the book, the authors explain how the new Web is a growing "cloud" of interconnected resources that identify the people, places, things and concepts that people want to know about when they approach the Internet with an information need. They also explain why linked data is an appropriate architecture for the description of library resources in the new Web.

Modeling data in a form that the broader Web understands may raise the visibility of libraries where searches for information are now most likely to start. This is the context for describing OCLC's contributions to the linked data cloud, which have produced data models and RDF datasets for several of the oldest, largest, and most widely referenced resources published by the library community, including WorldCat, WorldCat Works, VIAF, FAST, and the Dewey Decimal Classification. They are encoded in, the vocabulary endorsed by the world's major search engines for indexes and structured displays.

Library Linked Data in the Cloud: OCLC's Experiments with New Models of Resource Description will be beneficial to librarians, archivists, computer scientists, and other professionals interested in modeling bibliographic descriptions as linked data. It is available in libraries, in print from Amazon and a variety of other retailers, and also as an eBook from Morgan and Claypool.

See the Library Linked Data in the Cloud webinar recording (featured above) for more information about the book. For more information about OCLC’s linked data efforts, see the OCLC Linked Data Research project page.

Learn More

The video above is a webinar recording in which the authors discuss the lessons they learned about linked data as they wrote the book, and how these lessons helped them to identify and prioritize the next steps for library linked data.

For more information:

Carol Jean Godby
Senior Research Scientist
OCLC Research