OCLC Linked Data Research

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.


Among librarians, Linked Data research is an exploration of how our most important data can be re-engineered from databases of records comprehensible only to libraries to more broadly understandable collections of facts about entities, or culturally important people, places, organizations, events, and concepts with names such as Albert Einstein, Paris, Universiteit van Amsterdam, World War II, and black holes. In this form, our data can be linked with that of scientists and other professions—boosting the visibility and relevance of libraries, while conferring the library’s authority on the work of others.

Linked Data research at OCLC addresses the following objectives:

  • Evaluating Linked Data and associated Semantic Web technologies as a technical platform for publishing and managing RDF datasets at a commercial scale.
  • Modeling key entities in the domain of librarianship (such as Person and Work) and populating them with original descriptions and/or data converted from MARC.
  • Extending models to include resources not described very well in MARC, such as the contents of institutional repositories, digital collections, and art objects.
  • Improving the description of works and their translations.
  • Managing the transition from MARC and other legacy library standards.
  • Developing prototypes that consume Linked Data natively, demonstrating improved resource-description workflows and end-user discovery experiences.
  • Teaching and training.

Recent activities


OCLC Next blog posts


Community Discussion and Standards Initiatives

  • PCC (Program for Cooperative Cataloging) Task Groups: 2015-present.
    • Task Group on URIs in MARC
    • PCC SCS/LDAC Task Group on the Work Entity
    • PCC-Identities
  • VRA (Visual Resources Association) Linked Data Task Force.
  • Shareable Local Authorities, IMLS planning grant awarded to Cornell University; Chew Chiat Naun, Principal Investigator. 2016-2017.
  • Advisory board member for the Mellon-funded project “Benefits of Linked Open Data for Digitized Special Collections.” Awarded to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 2016-present.



International Linked Data Survey

Linked Data Survey, Part 2 (2015) 

Linked Data Survey, Part 1 (2014)  

Related OCLC Research Projects

Most recent updates: Page content: 2018-02-07