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Linked Data for Law Libraries: An Introduction


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Presented at the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting, October 14, 2016

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Linked Data for Law Libraries: An Introduction

  1. 1. Linked Data for Law Libraries: An Introduction Emily Dust Nimsakont Head of Cataloging & Resource Management Schmid Law Library, University of Nebraska College of Law MAALL Annual Meeting October 14, 2016Photo credit:
  2. 2. What is Linked Data?
  3. 3. “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.” “This enables data from different sources to be connected and queried.” “…linked data describes a method of publishing structured data so that it can be interlinked and become more useful.”
  4. 4. web of documents vs. web of data
  5. 5. resource resource resource resource resource links to links to links to links to links to
  6. 6. data links to links to links to links to data data data data data data data data data data datalinks to
  7. 7. Relationships are key Photo credit:
  8. 8. Encoded meaning <h1>This is a heading.</h1> <p>This is a paragraph.</p> <h1>My Favorite Trees</h1> <p>I like oak trees.</p> <p>I also like maple trees.</p>
  9. 9. Encoded meaning <rdf:Description rdf: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>
  10. 10. Links between entities <rdf:Description rdf:about=“http://www4.wiwiss.fu-”> <rev:hasReview rdf:resource=“http://www4.wiwiss.fu- ”/> <dc:creator rdf:resource=“http://www4.wiwiss.fu-”/> <dc:format>Paperback</dc:format> <dc:identifier rdf:resource=“urn:ISBN:0375507256”/> <dc:publisher>Random House Trade Paperbacks</dc:publisher> <dc:title>Cloud Atlas: A Novel</dc:title> </rdf:Description>
  11. 11. 1. Data instead of documents 2. Relationships are key 3. Encoded meaning 4. Links between entities So what?
  12. 12. Linked Data makes the Web into a database.
  13. 13. “Just as the traditional document Web can be crawled by following hypertext links, the Web of Data can be crawled by following RDF links. Working on the crawled data, search engines can provide sophisticated query capabilities... Because the query results themselves are structured data, not just links to HTML pages, they can be immediately processed, thus enabling a new class of applications based on the Web of Data.” Chris Bizer, Richard Cyganiak, and Tom Heath How to Publish Linked Data on the Web
  14. 14. How does Linked Data happen?
  15. 15. Linked Data Principles Tim Berners-Lee, “Linked Data-Design Issues.” Use URIs as names for things Use HTTP URIs so people can look up these names When someone looks up a URI, provide useful information, using the standards Include links to other URIs, so that they can discover more things
  16. 16. URIs Uniform Resource Identifiers = unique identifiers
  17. 17. RDF Resource Description Framework Describes relationships based on triples (statements): subject-predicate-object
  18. 18. RDF subject object A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens has author predicate
  19. 19. RDF subject object Case A Nancy Drew has plaintiff predicate
  20. 20. RDF Graph Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol has author has publisher Penguin
  21. 21. RDF Graph Nancy Drew Case A has plaintiff has defendant Ned Nickerson
  22. 22. RDF Graph with URIs names/n78087607/ 1.1/creator publisher /12345
  23. 23. RDF Graph with URIs /legalterms/plainti ff defendant Nancy Drew Ned Nickerson
  24. 24. RDF <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf=“ ns#” xmlns:dc=“”> <rdf:Description rdf:about=“”> <dc:creator rdf:resource=“ 607”/> <dc:publisher ref:resource=“” /> </rdf:Description> </rdf:RDF>
  25. 25. RDF <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf=“ ns#” xmlns:lex=“”> <rdf:Description rdf:about=“”> <lex:plaintiff=“Nancy Drew”/> <lex:defendant=“Ned Nickerson” /> </rdf:Description> </rdf:RDF> (“Lex” namespace inspired by “A Conversation on the Semantic Web and Legal Information by F.Tim Knight and Sarah Sutherland,
  26. 26. 5 Stars of Linked Open Data ★ Available on the web ★★ Available as structured data ★★★ Available in a non-proprietary format ★★★★ Use open standards to identify things, so people can point at your stuff ★★★★★ Link your data to other people’s data to provide context
  27. 27. Why should librarians care about Linked Data? Photo credit:
  28. 28. “…the Library community’s data carrier, MARC, is ‘based on forty-year-old techniques for data management and is out of step with programming styles of today.’” “…something new is now needed…” “The new bibliographic framework project will be focused on…Linked Data principles and mechanisms…” “A Bibliographic Framework for the Digital Age”
  29. 29. BIBFRAME Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative
  30. 30. OpenCat
  31. 31.
  32. 32. OpenCat
  33. 33. In traditional cataloging, a record is one package. Author Title Bibliographic Record
  34. 34. Bibliographic Record Records can be exchanged, but there is no way to exchange the individual pieces of information within a record. Bibliographic Record Bibliographic Record
  35. 35. Person Is author of Title Bibliographic Record With Linked Data, a bibliographic record is made up of many pieces of data. And the relationships between these pieces of data are defined.
  36. 36. Person Is author of Title Bibliographic Record The boundaries of the record can be dissolved…
  37. 37. Person Is author of Title Bibliographic Record …and the data can interact with other information on the Web.
  38. 38. Web Visibility “When my community searches the web for something we have, we better show up as an option.” Chuck Gibson, Director & CEO Worthington Public Library “The Visible Library,” Library Journal Webcast, February 26, 2015
  39. 39. New ways of searching for library resources Photo credit:
  40. 40. New applications for librarians’ skills Photo credit:
  41. 41. Why should law librarians care about linked data? “Law is chaos with an index.” Photo credit:
  42. 42. “Publishing and using juridical information is challenging in many ways. It is produced by different parties, such as governmental bureaus, ministries, different levels of courts, research organizations, and media. The content is heterogeneous and produced using differing tools, data formats, and practices. The links between documents are often informal and/or not made explicit. The law in general is a dynamic, changing entity: for example, it is important to be able to refer to different versions of a law at different points of time. These challenges can be addressed through the use of linked data techniques.” The Finnish Law as a Linked Data Service Matias Frosterus, Jouni Tuominen, Mika Wahlroos, and Eero Hyvönen
  43. 43. Are there sources of linked library data?
  44. 44. LC Linked Data Service Virtual International Authority File RDA Vocabularies
  45. 45.
  46. 46. What does Linked Data look like?
  47. 47.
  48. 48. Indigenous Law Portal -law-guide/
  49. 49.
  50. 50. Resources (Online) How to Publish Linked Data on the Web by Chris Bizer, Richard Cyganiak, and Tom Heath A Conversation on the Semantic Web and Legal Information by F. Tim Knight and Sarah Sutherland LODLAM (Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives and Museums) Free Your Metadata ALA Linked Data Interest Group An Introduction to RDF for Librarians (of a Metadata Bent) by Ruth Kitchin Tillman
  51. 51. Resources (Print) Linked Data for Libraries, Archives and Museums, by Seth van Hooland and Reuben Verborgh Linked Data for Cultural Heritage, edited by Ed Jones and Michele Seikel 4
  52. 52. Thank you! Emily Dust Nimsakont Head of Cataloging & Resource Management Schmid Law Library, University of Nebraska College of Law