David Stuart of Research Information recently wrote, "If libraries are to realise the value of the data they have been building and refining over many years, then it is not enough for them to just embrace the web of documents, they must also embrace the web of data. The associated technologies may seem complex and impenetrable but the idea of libraries embracing the web of data doesn’t have to mean that every librarian has to embrace every bit of technology. The web of data refers to the publication of data online in a machine-readable format, so that individual pieces of information can be both linked to and read automatically."
Stuart continues, "The potential of the web of data is increasingly recognised by the community of library and information professionals – not only for the publishing of catalogue data, but also for transaction data, and the datasets that are increasingly stored in institutional repositories. Publishing catalogue data according to widely adopted standards offers the potential for the aggregation of data from multiple institutions and the creation of new websites and services: a library’s holdings will appear in search engine results, rather than requiring users to visit a library’s own website; union catalogues can become far more comprehensive; and the catalogue data can be combined with data from other sources to provide new insights and mashups."
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