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Semantic Web Technologies: Changing Bibliographic Descriptions?


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Keynote presentation at the North Atlantic Health Science Library meeting, October 26, 2009. …

Keynote presentation at the North Atlantic Health Science Library meeting, October 26, 2009.
An introduction to semantic web technologies and their relationship to libraries and bibliographic data.
Stuart Weibel, Senior Research Scientist, OCLC Research

Published in: Technology, Education

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  • 1. Semantic Web Technologies:Changing Bibliographic Futures?
  • 2. Stuart WeibelSenior Research Scientist
    OCLC Research
    Dublin Core
    Working in Seattle
    Collaboration with UW
    NSF DataNet proposal
    for curation of scientific
  • 3. What’s this I hear about the Semantic Web?
    What is the Semantic Web?
    What does it have to do with bibliography?
    Does it make life better for patrons?
    Does it strengthen libraries?
    Is it practical?
    Where can we get some?
  • 4. What is the Semantic Web?
    An approach to embedding structure in web resources to facilitate the extraction of meaning by machines and people.
    A set of technologies
    RDF: Resource Description Framework (a metadata architecture for the Web)
    Linked Data
  • 5. Semantic Web Technologies:RDF
    a syntax for making assertions on the web
    A structure to support inference by machines
    RDF assertions are always expressed as triples
    An RDF assertion has a subject, a predicate, and and object:
  • 6. RDF Assertions:Subject – Predicate – Object
    This presentation has a title of Semantic Web Technologies: Changing Bibliographic Futures?
    The author of this presentation is Stuart Weibel
    This presentation was delivered on 2009-10-26
    Semantic Web Technologies…
    Stuart Weibel
    Date of
  • 7. RDF Assertions
    Encoded in XML on the Web
    The nodes (information resources) are URIs
    The Arcs (predicates) are also URIs
    Semantic Web Technologies…
  • 8. The only thing you need to know…
    RDF provides a web language for declaring relationships among information resources
    It is a bit like sentence diagramming
    The important thing is to identify all the bits with globally unique, persistent Identifiers (URIs)
  • 9. OWLWeb Ontology Language
    W3C standard for expressing ontology relationships
    Ontologies are important tools for knowledge representation
    The importance of knowledge representation diminishes rapidly as the scope of representation increases
    Still largely undemonstrated general impact
  • 10. SKOSSimple Knowledge Organization System
    W3C standards designed to support the declaration of controlled vocabularies and classification systems using the idioms of the semantic web (RDF).
    SKOS is simpler than OWL
    Less expertise required to deploy structured terminologies
  • 11. Linked DataWhat's all the fuss about?
    The web is all about links: Anything new here?
    A web of data versus a web of documents
    Partly about granularity of resources
    Addressable assertions as opposed to addressable documents
    Partly about doing inference on the web
    Making machines do more of the work of interpreting data
  • 12. Principles of Linked DataTim Berners-Lee
    1.Use URIs as names for things (identifiers)
    2. Use HTTP URIs so that people can look up those names
    3.When someone looks up a URI, provide useful information
    4.Include links to other URIs so that they can discover more things
  • 13. Linked Open Data ProjectSeeding the Web of Data
  • 14. Linked Data and Bibliography
    Linked Data is a natural approach for bibliographic data:
    Because FRBR provides us with a coherent conceptual map of data about library assets
  • 15. FRBR Entities – Librarianship’s contribution to a richer, structured (semantic) Web
  • 16. And don’t forget Social Bibliography:User-Generated Content
  • Hook everything together with the right sort of identifiers
    A coherent identifier infrastructure is essential to establishing a rich and dynamic scaffolding of interconnected information resources to support “users and uses of bibliographic data”
    Broad dissemination of canonical, globally-scoped public identifiers serves the library collaborative and is the single most compelling means of making library assets visible on the Web
  • 20. Some Design Parameters for Identifiers in theGlobal Library Community
    Canonical identification
    Granularity and the
    FRBR model
    Universal accessibility
    Global scoping
    Search Engine
  • 21. Persistence
    • Not technological, but rather, a function of the commitment of organizations
    • 22. Libraries and other cultural memory organizations do this well
    • 23. Harder to do in the digital era, but the community is up to the task
  • Universal access and global scoping
    • Open to all: public identifiers in a public Web
    • 24. Should work in Myanmar, Melbourne, and Minneapolis alike
    • 25. WorldCat is the first globally-scoped identifier architecture for library assets in which the global surrogate is mapped to locality
    • 26. Holdings data turns out to be critical in supporting the last mile problem
  • Search Engine Optimization and Canonical Identifiers
    • Visibility of assets in the global library is diluted by the multiplicity of identifiers
    Many competing identifier schemes
    Localized versions of identifiers
    • Agreement on a canonical identifier
    Raises search engine ranking
    Concentrates aggregation of social content
    Simplifies supply-chain processing
    Is Item X the same as…related to… relevant to… Item Y?
  • 27. Usability of URIs
    URIs should be designed for people as well as machines
    URIs should be ‘speakable’
    URIs should be a short as can be managed
    URIs should have a predictable pattern that makes them ‘hackable’ and ‘truncatable’
  • 28. Is Linked Data Good for Libraries?
    Linked data can help users navigate authors, articles, concepts, organizations, and their relationship to other resources on the Web
    Linked data can help fix library assets in the context of other data on the Web
    Linked data can help reduce the barriers between traditional catalogs and the open Web
  • 29. Social Networking Software
    It isn’t new… only the technical manifestation is
    Library services in emerging social networks
    Motivate people to participate
    Book Reviews
    Emergent relationships, evident from data about what people buy and borrow, like and dislike (business intelligence)
    Link to the people as well
  • 30. Linked Data will help fix library assets in their larger context
    Tags, book reviews, recommendation data is an increasingly important component of bibliography
    Crowd-sourced data need not go in our catalogs
    Reliable, canonical identifiers will help tie together heterogeneous content
  • 31. Web is a wonderful metaphor, but perhaps something a bit more durable?
    We want more
    Coherence and context
    Durable environments that help us preserve and fix resources in the context of culture
    Librarianship embedded in the emerging technologies of a social, semantic Web
    Linked data
  • 32. Web or Scaffolding?
  • 33. Is Linked Data Practical?
    Libraries know better than most the importance of managing quality and establishing authority
    It is unclear what the best formats for exposing linked data to the open web might be
    The spirit of the Web suggests trying things and changing them as appropriate.
    Watch Hans Rosling’s Ted Talk for an example of how linked data can shine
  • 34. The future of Library catalogs?
    Evolving towards the network level
    Collections linked to people, organizations, global locations, concepts, context, metadata, and social networking benefits
    Fit into the workflow and social lives of patrons
    Help create a scaffolding for past knowledge and future productivity
  • 35. An Example of Linked Data in Action
    Hans Rosling’stour de force of linked data on the Web
  • 36. Some Early Efforts
    Libris: Catalog of the National Library of Sweden designed from a linked data perspective
    Library of Congress Authorities:
    LCSH is a web site that presents the Dewey Summaries as Linked Data.
  • 37. Thanks for your attention!
    Find me on