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RDA and Linked Data: where's the beef


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Presentation delivered at the RDA Linked Data Forum at the American Library Association annual meeting in Chicago, IL, June 2017.

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RDA and Linked Data: where's the beef

  1. 1. RDA and Linked Data Where’s the beef?
  2. 2. What is Linked Data anyway?  5 stars linked data  On the web with an open license  Machine-readable data  Non-proprietary format  RDF standards  Linked RDF  The first four are not that difficult, but the last one is – it’s what raises the approach to the semantic web
  3. 3. Linked data as unfulfilled promise  We’ve been hearing about this promise for many years  But what do we see?  Large institutional releases of existing data stores in linked data formats but few libraries using that data  Expensive efforts to modify MARC to make it more ‘linked-data-friendly‘  Very little exploratory efforts by vendors  Many concerns by smaller institutions that they will be passed by due to their lack of resources  RDA still being referred to as “guidance instructions”  RDA is the full package: open descriptive vocabularies (a real MARC replacement), AND instructions  With the incorporation of the LRM and recent restructuring, RDA is now far more integrated than AACR2 and MARC ever were
  4. 4. What next?  Why infrastructure matters  Web pages alone are insufficient (few or no services)  Versioning and stability critical  Serious evaluation of current options and pathways for library data needed  ‘Experiments’ being reported out are badly conceived and based on false assumptions  Important differences in approach are downplayed and cast as ‘political’ in nature  Politics in libraries, as in governments, are getting in our way  A focus on requirements and collaborations makes a difference
  5. 5. Managing change  The Semantic Web is based on open vocabularies to describe data  It’s about meaning and context  There are gaps—how can we create the usable aggregation (like VIAF) to be able to manage ‘Works’?  Stability is critical to effective use of element sets and value vocabularies  Recently released NISO report describes the aspects of current vocabulary management that are inherently unstable  RDA Registry is optimized to take library data to the next level  Including RDA in translation and tools to manage essential data at scale  Many flavors of output to support systems and services
  6. 6. Is maintenance a dirty word?  ‘Maintenance’ in the old days was largely done by expensive humans at the individual library level  OCLC’s efficient quality control efforts depended significantly on ‘master records’ with associated clusters of locations  Emphasis on trade publications present in many locations  Not enough effort to bring research efforts forward (too many die waiting to be monetized)  Without a central node providing those services more flexibly we’ll need to cooperate to build them anew for a different world  We must be able to continue to support and use the effort of others and to shift our focus from local catalogs to a global scale information
  7. 7. Reality and possibility  Emulating the fantasy and dysfunctional conflict happening in our government will not help us  We need to insist that library (and other) funding agencies choose their recipients based on some criteria other than political correctness, and insofar as their funding is from taxpayers, provide far more openness in decision making and evaluation  RDA is far more advanced in providing the support that libraries need to make the changes important for new and continuing services to their publics, more useful collaboration among peer institutions and a future unencumbered by past swamps
  8. 8. If not, why not?  Please work with us to bring this vision to fruition!  If you can’t support RDA and its efforts, please tell us why, so we can improve  If we’re not covering the issues you find concerning, let us know, and when you see us in the hallways, give us the opportunity to discuss your concerns (if not at that moment, later in the conference and beyond)
  9. 9. Contact: Diane Hillmann Metadata Management Associates Http://