Sunday, February 26, 2017

Linked data: time to act

More than 50 librarians, archivists, information professionals and interested community members attended a presentation on 20th February by Karen Smith Yoshimira, Senior Project Officer, OCLC on Linked data - bringing the world closer together.

The full presentation is available online Linked data: bringing the world closer

Karen started by reminding us that in 2006, Tim Berners-Lee published a blog post in the w3c web space. It featured an image that became an icon of the linked data movement: the coffee cup with the five stars. She drew our attention to two points:
*The text:  make links to things. Use a special kind of identifier [called a URI] to name things; include more URIs so people can discover other things. URIs: Identifiers that are persistent, unique, resolved with existing web protocols.
*The insight: This appears to be describing hypertext, but it is different from the web we know. It is about things in the world. URIs are collection points for information about them. By interacting with the web, we are getting information about objects, and not just reading documents.

She noted that from the research of Lynn Connaway (The Library in the life of the user) “Students’ information searches have evolved from browsing books in the stacks to submitting online queries to Google because is quicker.”

Taking a deep dive into Google knowledge Card and WorldCat she explored how unleashing bibliographic information can add to the user journey increasing visibility of works and linking translations.

The linked data sites mentioned in the OCLC 2015 International Linked Data Survey for Implementers provided a rich set of examples that she discussed including Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America, National Diet Library projects, German National Library projects and Pratt Institute Linked Jazz project.

Her summary remarks inspired us all to look at how we can use linked data to achieve greater visibility and access to the digitized resources from the GLAM sector:
       Linked data can bring the world closer together through a worldwide web of data
       It will likely take years for library data to be ingested in the websites where information seekers live and learn
       Library data can help bridge the world across both domains and languages through more linked and actionable data
       And that’s a Good Thing

Roxanne Missingham
University Librarian (Chief Scholarly Information Services)
The Australian National University

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