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What Is Linked Data, and What Does it Mean for Libraries? ALAO TEDSIG Spring Meeting
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What Is Linked Data, and What Does it Mean for Libraries? ALAO TEDSIG Spring Meeting


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  • First, I’d like to start by telling you a little bit about my motivation for presenting about Linked Data and libraries. First, I just think it’s a really interesting idea to think about and in a time where it seems like everyone is debating the future of libraries, I get really fascinated thinking about Linked Data and what it could mean for our library data.
  • I’ll be taking breaks for questions, but definitely feel free to stop me if you have a question as we’re going along.
  • Query languages are “computer languages used to make queries into databases and information systems.” --Wikipedia.
  • Allows you to link your blog content to other semantically-related content.
  • There are a number of different ways in which our data is in a silo, compared to other data on the Web. It exists in our catalogs, which are not always accessible. It exists in MARC format, which is used by no one else.
  • But I think that one of the major ways in which our information is in a silo of its own is because we insist on thinking about bibliographic records instead of bibliographic data.
  • The elements of author, title, etc., only really have meaning in the context of the record.
  • MARC format, our encoding standard, is set up to exchange records, not data.
  • Partnership between the Archives of Michigan, the Internet Archive, Freebase, Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond, and LookBackMaps.Does anyone know of any other examples, either of data that is out there, or particular projects?
  • Ask for input from audience
  • Transcript

    • 1. What is Linked Data, and What Does It Mean for Libraries?
      Emily Dust Nimsakont
      ALAO TEDSIG Spring Meeting
      May 27, 2011
      Photo credit:
    • 2. This is an overview…
      Photo credit:
    • 3. What is Linked Data?
      How do we create Linked Data?
      Examples of Linked Data
      What does Linked Data mean for libraries?
      Are there drawbacks to Linked Data?
      What’s next?
      What can I do?
    • 4. What is Linked Data?
    • 5. Wikipedia says…
      “Linked Data describes a method of publishing structured data, so that it can be interlinked and become more useful. It builds upon standard web technologies, such as HTTP and URIs - but rather than using them to serve web pages for human readers, it extends them to share information in a way that can be read automatically by computers.”
    • 6. The inventor of the Web said…
      “I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers.”
      Tim Berners-Lee, 1999
    • 7. Linked Datavs.Semantic Webvs.Web 3.0
    • 8. web of documentsvs.web of data
    • 9. resource
      links to
      links to
      links to
      links to
    • 10. data
      links to
      links to
      links to
      links to
    • 11. hypertextvs.hyperdata
    • 12. HTML
      <h1>This is a heading.</h1>
      <p>This is a paragraph.</p>
    • 13. RDF/XML
      <rdf:Descriptionrdf:about="http://www.recshop.fake/cd/Empire Burlesque">  <cd:artist>Bob Dylan</cd:artist>  <cd:country>USA</cd:country>  <cd:company>Columbia</cd:company>  <cd:price>10.90</cd:price>  <cd:year>1985</cd:year></rdf:Description>
    • 14. Relationships are key
      Photo credit:
    • 15. People can understand relationships between things.
      But machines should be able to understand these relationships too.
      Photo credit:
    • 16. We are used to connecting pieces of information based on their context.
      Title: A Christmas Carol
      Author: Charles Dickens
      Linked Data makes the relationships explicit.
    • 17. Data instead of documents
      Encoded meaning
      Relationships are key
      So what?
    • 18. Linked Data makes the Web into a database.
    • 19. “Linked Open Data turns the Web into an API.”
      Corey A. Harper
      as quoted in
    • 20. Linked Data allows you to customize the Web.
    • 21. “Link your data to other people’s data to provide context.”
      Michael Hausenblas
    • 22. Questions?
      Photo credit:
    • 23. How do we create Linked Data?
    • 24. Linked Data principles
      Tim Berners-Lee, “Linked Data-Design Issues.”
    • 25. URIs
      For Linked Data, we need to be able to identify things uniquely
      Uniform Resource Identifiers do this already
    • 26. URIs
      Using HTTP URIs is one of the principles of Linked Data
    • 27. URIs
      URIs are like control numbers (LCCN, ISBN, etc.).
    • 28. RDF
      Resource Description Framework
      Describes relationships based on triples (statements):
    • 29. RDF
      has author
      A Christmas Carol
      Charles Dickens
    • 30. RDF statements
      The subject and predicate must be URIs.
      The object can be a URI or a value.
    • 31. RDF graphs
      A Christmas
      has author
      has publisher
      Charles Dickens
    • 32. RDF
      <rdf:Descriptionrdf:about="http://www.recshop.fake/cd/Empire Burlesque">  <cd:artist>Bob Dylan</cd:artist>  <cd:country>USA</cd:country>  <cd:company>Columbia</cd:company>  <cd:price>10.90</cd:price>  <cd:year>1985</cd:year></rdf:Description>
    • 33. Vocabularies
      Specific terms to be used to describe resources
      Sound familiar?
    • 34. Vocabularies
      Dublin Core
      Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS)
      RDF Schema (RDFS)
      Friend of a Friend (FOAF)
      Web Ontology Language (OWL)
    • 35. <rdf:RDFxmlns:dcterms="" xmlns:owl="" xmlns:rdf="" xmlns:skos="">
      <skos:prefLabel> Knitting</skos:prefLabel>
    • 36. SPARQL
      SPARQL is a query language (like SQL) used to search the semantic web
      SPARQL endpoints are provided for Linked Data resources
    • 37. Link to other resources
      Relationship Links
      Identity Links
      Vocabulary Links
    • 38. Questions?
      Photo credit:
    • 39. Are there examples of Linked Data/Semantic Web?
    • 40. DBpedia
    • 41. Faviki
    • 42. Zemanta
    • 43. FreeBase
    • 44. Questions?
      Photo credit:
    • 45. What could Linked Data mean for Libraries?
    • 46. Part I:What could Linked Data mean for Library Data?
    • 47. Getting rid of silos
      Photo credit:
    • 48. “Our services must not only be on the Web, but need to be of the Web.”
      • Karen Coyle
      RDA Vocabularies for a Twenty-First-Century Data Environment
      Library Technology Reports
      February 2010
    • 49. World Wide Web
      Library Catalogs
    • 50. More open standards
    • 51. bibliographic recordsvs. bibliographic data
    • 52. Bibliographic Record
      In traditional cataloging, a record is one package.
    • 53. Bibliographic Record
      Bibliographic Record
      Bibliographic Record
      Records can be exchanged, but there is no way to exchange the individual pieces of information within a record.
    • 54. With Linked Data, a bibliographic record is made up of many pieces of data.
      Bibliographic Record
      And the relationships between these pieces of data are defined.
      Is author of
    • 55. The boundaries of the record can be dissolved…
      Bibliographic Record
      Is author of
    • 56. …and the data can interact with other information on the Web.
      Bibliographic Record
      Is author of
    • 57. Are there examples of Linked Data in libraries?
    • 58. Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies
    • 59. Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies
    • 60.
    • 61. RDA Metadata Registry
    • 62. Virtual International Authority File
    • 63. Dewey Summaries
    • 64. So there’s a bunch of data out there.Now what?
    • 65.
    • 66. Extensible Catalog
    • 67. What does Linked Data look like?
      “That is kind of like asking what electricity looks like: it doesn’t so much look like anything, as it makes certain things possible.”
      Karen Coyle
      Visualizing Linked Data
    • 68. What does Linked Data look like?
    • 69. Civil War Data 150
    • 70. Part II:What Could Linked Data Mean for Librarians?
    • 71. Different workflows
      Catalogers could use URIs for things like authors’ names or subject headings.
      If information changed, the URI could be changed and automatically update the information in our catalogs.
    • 72. Evaluating metadata
      Metadata could come from various sources.
      “Professional cataloging might be more of a job of aggregating and improving harvested or contributed metadata, rather than developing new metadata, like MARC records, for resources.”
      -Virginia Schilling
      “The Catalogers’ Revenge: Unleashing the Semantic Web”
      PNLA Quarterly 74:3, 2010
    • 73. Federated searching
      Photo credit:
    • 74. New homes for librarians’ skills?
      “Someday there will be a Dewey Decimal number for everything – not just for books.”
    • 75. Are There Drawbacks to Linked Data?
    • 76. Training and Software Development
      “Nobody but the geekily inclined is going to be willing to invest the time and effort necessary to code semantically tagged web pages from scratch.”
      Virginia Schilling
      “The Catalogers’ Revenge: Unleashing the Semantic Web.”
      PNLA Quarterly 74:3 (Spring 2010).
    • 77. Access to the Data
      Photo credit:
    • 78. Different Standards and Vocabularies
    • 79. Reliability of Data
      Photo credit:
    • 80. What’s next?
    • 81. Library Linked Data Incubator Group
    • 82. International Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives, and Museums Summit - June 2-3, 2011
    • 83. Linked Data at ALA Annual 2011
    • 84. What can I do?
    • 85. 5 Stars of Open Linked Data
      ★Available on the web (whatever format), but with an open license
      ★★Available as machine-readable structured data (e.g. Excel instead of image scan of a table)
      ★★★Availableas (2) plus non-proprietary format (e.g. CSV instead of Excel)
      ★★★★All the above plus, Use open standards from W3C (RDF and SPARQL) to identify things, so that people can point at your stuff
      ★★★★★All the above, plus: Link your data to other people’s data to provide context
    • 86. Laura Smart, California Institute of Technology
      Managing Metadata
    • 87. Resources
      Jeffrey T. Pollock. Semantic Web for Dummies.
      Toby Segaran, Colin Evans, and Jamie Taylor. Programming the Semantic Web.
      Tom Heath and Christian Bizer. Linked Data: Evolving the Web into a Global Data Space.
      Karen Coyle. “Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata” and “RDA Vocabularies for a Twenty-First-Century Data Environment.” Library Technology Reports, ALA TechSource.
    • 88. Linked Data is on the horizon.
      And it has the potential to greatly change how libraries work.
      Photo credit:
    • 89. Thank you!
      Emily Dust Nimsakont