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Debra Shapiro's picture

Linked Library Data IG managed discussion at ALA Annual - meeting report

The LITA/ALCTS Library Linked Data IG (LLD IG) held a managed discussion at ALA Annual 2013, on Sunday June 30th at 8:30 a.m.

To kick off discussion, we heard a short presentation from Jackie Shieh, Resource Description Coordinator at George Washington University (GWU) Library. GWU Library was a BIBFRAME Early Experimenter in late 2012. In her talk, titled “Bib Data Experiment: the GW Journey” Jackie began by presenting some of the things GWU staff did to learn about linked data in general. She then described BIBFRAME, RDF Serialization, how library legacy data can be expressed as RDF and, finally, how George Washington University actually produced RDF/BIBFRAME data from MARC records and what that data looked like.

Jackie’s slides are posted on slideshare at: http://www.slideshare.net/jshieh/bib-data-experiment-the-gw-journey

After Jackie’s talk, we broke into groups for table-top discussions. After allowing about 45 minutes for talk, we heard report-backs from the different groups. The most prominent topics that surfaced were:

  • A librarian from University of Iowa says they are preparing for BIBFRAME and linked data by building local vocabularies; staff from the Minnesota Historical Society says local vocabularies are under discussion there as well
    • Desire for more sharing around that process – what’s done locally, what’s done nationally
  • There is a wide range of levels of institutional and individual knowledge about linked data – some participants still want introductory linked data training, while others have initiatives in progress
  • Desire for specifics – not linked data in general, but how to use BIBFRAME, what tools, what training
  • How do we create resource descriptions in BIBFRAME? What will the cataloger interface look like? What about creating other flavors of linked data, not as closely related to MARC as BIBFRAME?
  • How do we get MARC data into BIBFRAME, and still preserve the richness that exists, while not recreating MARC problems
  • Publishing linked data has many challenges. First of all, how do we do it? And what are we publishing? HTML pages with linked data embedded? RDF/XML? How do we produce different serializations for our graphs? Are there best practices to produce them and to upload them? Are some of the formats only for use by machines? How do we publish for machines?
  • Many of us have good data in relational databases but don't know how to output linked data from the database. (but we think there’s an XML conversion in there)
  • Isn’t BIBFRAME just reinventing MARC?
  • How are BIBFRAME and RDA [or FRBR, or Schema.org, or XML] related; work together?
  • Tools – do we need to write in native XML?
  • Karen Coyle’s Library Technology Reports, “Linked Data Tools: Connecting on the Web”, June 2012, v. 48 #4, good start; also the 2010 one on Semantic web – “Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata”, January 2010, v. 46 #1
  • Linked data and BIBFRAME and ILSs – both open source and proprietary – what is going on there?  How can we be sure to be involved and get what we need/want?

The IG plans to submit at least one program proposal for the ALA 2014 conference – possibly for a preconference.

Respectfully submitted, Debra Shapiro

July 18, 2013