Presentation for the Semantic Business & Technology Conference London 2011


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Updated description of the British Library's experience in creating a linked data version of the national bibliography for the Semantic & Business technology Conference, London, Sept 27 2011

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  • NoteCharacter set issues
  • Its another step on the journey rather than an end result
  • Presentation for the Semantic Business & Technology Conference London 2011

    1. 1. Establishing the Connection: Creating the Linked Data British National Bibliography Neil Wilson Head of Metadata Services Semantic Tech & Business Conference 27 September 2011
    2. 2. The British Library? <ul><li>Receives a copy of every publication produced in the UK & Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>The collection includes well over 150 million items, in most languages </li></ul><ul><li>Operates the world's largest document delivery service </li></ul><ul><li>Began to offer a new range of free metadata services in 2010 </li></ul>
    3. 3. Library Sector Relevance? Declining? Increasing? <ul><li>“ I did my PhD with only 12 visits to a library. That was 5 years ago; things have improved since then, now you don’t need to use one at all!” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The release of library data offers the opportunity for it to be used in ways unthought-of by the library & information community…” </li></ul>
    4. 4. Changing Expectations Putting Public Sector Data To Work <ul><li>McKinsey forecasts the benefits of open public data could be 250bn Euros </li></ul><ul><li>UK Government is creating a Public Data Corporation to coordinate development </li></ul><ul><li>“ Putting the Frontline First ” required “ the majority of government-published information to be reusable, linked data ” by June 2011 . </li></ul>
    5. 5. How Are We Meeting The Challenge? <ul><li>Our new open metadata strategy aims to: </li></ul><ul><li>Enable increased innovation without unnecessary barriers </li></ul><ul><li>Break from library formats & use cross domain standards </li></ul><ul><li>Obtain attribution while offering more permissive licensing </li></ul><ul><li>Deliver with decreasing resources while maintaining revenue </li></ul>
    6. 6. What Have We Achieved? <ul><li>In the last Year we have: </li></ul><ul><li>Signed over 400 organisations in 68 countries to free data services </li></ul><ul><li>Supplied 3-15 million item XML datasets under Creative Commons licenses </li></ul><ul><li>Created a linked data version of the British National Bibliography </li></ul>
    7. 7. Library Metadata The Promise of Linked Data <ul><li>Better web integration of resources increasing visibility & reaching new users </li></ul><ul><li>A global pool of reusable data for organisations to add unique value </li></ul><ul><li>New library leadership opportunities due to persistence, stability & authority </li></ul><ul><li>Such benefits cross national & sectoral boundaries but require huge cultural changes </li></ul>
    8. 8. Our Linked Data Journey… Why the British National Bibliography? <ul><li>We wanted to: </li></ul><ul><li>Advance debate from theory to practice via release of a ‘critical mass’ of data </li></ul><ul><li>Show commitment by using a core dataset - niche examples are not as compelling </li></ul><ul><li>Create a foundational service others can build upon & not a dead end </li></ul>
    9. 9. Our Linked Data Journey… Preliminaries <ul><ul><ul><li>We first identified: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The best licensing model for our objectives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A proven hosting platform </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sources of expert feedback </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>So we could concentrate our efforts on adding value to our data </li></ul>
    10. 10. Our Linked Data Journey… Additional Objectives <ul><li>The project would be a staff & organisational development opportunity using: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In-house personnel </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-existing tools or technologies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Legacy library data as a starting point </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Our Linked Data Journey… Migrating The Data – From Here <ul><li>We aimed to: </li></ul><ul><li>Start simple & develop in line with evolving staff expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Utilise staff training & mentoring by Talis in: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Linked data concepts </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RDF modelling </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation options </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Use the opportunity to rethink approaches to offer the best of the old & new </li></ul>
    12. 12. Our Linked Data Journey… Migrating The Data – To Here
    13. 13. Our Linked Data Journey… Selecting Sites to Link to For Mutual Benefit <ul><li>To position our data in a wider context </li></ul><ul><li>We blended general linked sites e.g.: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GeoNames </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lexvo </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RDF Book Mashup </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Together with core linked library sector resources </li></ul>
    14. 14. Our Linked Data Journey… Generating The Links <ul><li>Three approaches used: </li></ul><ul><li>Automatic generation from data elements in records </li></ul><ul><li>Matching with text in linked data resource dumps </li></ul><ul><li>Crosswalk & matching process for coded data </li></ul>
    15. 15. Where Did We Get To? Hosted on the Platform: . BNB Books 1950-2011 2.5 Millione Rcords 80 Million Unique RDF Triples
    16. 16. What Does It Look Like?
    17. 17. Lessons Learned - Its a new way of thinking… <ul><li>Legacy data wasn’t designed for this purpose so give thought to data modelling & sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone is learning so you may be the best judge </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t reinvent the wheel...there are often tools or expertise you can utilise </li></ul>
    18. 18. Lessons Learned – Data Issues <ul><li>Offer sample access to the community for feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared for criticism in addition to positive feedback & continually improve </li></ul><ul><li>Conversion will identify hidden data issues…& create new ones! </li></ul><ul><li>But it’s often better to release an imperfect something than a perfect nothing! </li></ul>
    19. 19. Lessons Learned - Staff and Resource Issues <ul><li>It can be a steep learning curve so: </li></ul><ul><li>Exploit external Linked Data expertise to work with and guide your internal, domain expert, team </li></ul><ul><li>Cultivate a staff culture of enquiry & innovation to widen perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Identify existing tools that can save development time or assist data validation </li></ul>
    20. 20. Lessons Learned – Was It Worth It? <ul><li>The benefits have been significant & the initiative has: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Given us a presence without distorting revenue streams …& may even offer new options </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gained us 1 st mover advantage within our sector </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shown that if you offer useful data people will use it with over 250K transactions in the 1 st month! </li></ul></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Our Linked Data Journey - Where Next? <ul><li>Planned Next steps include: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Staged release for other materials e.g. journals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Monthly updates once complete </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Document & refine data model </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What else might be offered? </li></ul></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Final Thoughts… <ul><li>It’s never going to be perfect first time </li></ul><ul><li>We expect to make mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>We aim to learn from them </li></ul><ul><li>We hope others will learn something too </li></ul><ul><li>… & everyone benefits </li></ul><ul><li>So if anyone is thinking of undertaking a similar journey….. </li></ul><ul><li>Just do it! </li></ul>
    23. 23. Questions…? Images from http://!/BLMetadata [email_address]