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Promises and Pitfalls: Linked Data, Privacy, and Library Catalogs


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Presented at the Spring Meeting of the Nebraska Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Round Table and Technical Services Round Table, Marc 6 ,2015

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Promises and Pitfalls: Linked Data, Privacy, and Library Catalogs

  1. 1. Promises and Pitfalls: Linked Data, Privacy, and Library Catalogs Emily Dust Nimsakont Cataloging Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission TSRT/IFRT Spring Meeting March 6, 2015
  2. 2. What is Linked Data? Photo credit:
  3. 3. 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.”
  4. 4. resource resource resource resource resource links to links to links to links to
  5. 5. data links to links to links to links to data data data data data data data data data data data
  6. 6. HTML <h1>This is a heading.</h1> <p>This is a paragraph.</p>
  7. 7. RDF/XML <rdf:Description rdf:about="http://www.recshop.fake/cd/Empi re 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>
  8. 8. We are used to connecting pieces of information based on their context. Title: A Christmas Carol Author: Charles Dickens Relationships are key. Photo credit:
  9. 9. Linked Data makes the relationships explicit (to computers!) subject object A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens has author predicate
  10. 10. <rdf:Description rdf:about="http://www.recshop.fake/cd/Empi re 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>
  11. 11. “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
  12. 12. Why should librarians care about Linked Data? Photo credit:
  13. 13. BIBFRAME Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative
  14. 14. OpenCat
  15. 15.
  16. 16. OpenCat
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. Privacy Concerns Related to Linked Data Photo credit:
  19. 19. There’s a lot more information out there And it will be explored more aggressively Photo credits:,,
  20. 20. Libraries and Privacy Photo credit:
  21. 21. “Librarians feel a professional responsibility to protect the right to search for information free from surveillance. Privacy has long been the cornerstone of library services in America. Why? Because the freedom to read and receive ideas anonymously is at the heart of individual liberty in a democracy. Librarians defend that freedom every day. Libraries are information hubs for their communities. They are also natural centers for learning and talking about information issues… including privacy.”
  22. 22. Libraries, Rights Management, and Linked Data Photo credit:
  23. 23. “Libraries no longer own much of the content they provide to users; rather it is subscribed to from a variety of vendors. Not only does that mean that vendors will have to make their data available in linked data formats for improvements to federated search to happen, but a mix of licensed and free content in a linked data environment would be extremely difficult to manage.” Gillian Byrne and Lisa Goddard The Strongest Link: Libraries and Linked Data
  24. 24. Privacy Solutions Photo credit:
  25. 25. We are not alone. Photo credit:
  26. 26. W3C Bibliographic Extension Community Group
  27. 27.
  28. 28. W3C Library Linked Data Incubator Group
  29. 29. “provided that data privacy is ensured”
  30. 30. “Data related to user identity and the use of the library is protected by privacy policies and legislation.”
  31. 31. Privacy is a continuum. Photo credit:
  32. 32. Privacy Preference Ontology Allows users to define “fine-grained privacy preferences for restricting (or granting) access” to their information Owen Sacco and Alexandre Passant A Privacy Preference Ontology (PPO) for Linked Data
  33. 33. Ontology = Vocabulary “Vocabularies are used to classify the terms that can be used in a particular application, characterize possible relationships, and define possible constraints on using those terms.”
  34. 34. Resources Matt Enis. “Ending the Invisible Library: Linked Data.” linked-data/ Gillian Byrne and Lisa Goddard. “The Strongest Link: Libraries and Linked Data.” Virginia Schilling. “Transforming Library Metadata into Linked Library Data.”
  35. 35. Thank you! Emily Dust Nimsakont Cataloging Librarian Nebraska Library Commission 800-307-2665