Linked Data for Librarians: BIBFRAME Isn't the Whole Story


Dorothea Salo of Library Journal recently wrote, "American catalogers and systems librarians can be forgiven for thinking that all the linked-data action lies with the BIBFRAME development effort. BIBFRAME certainly represents the lion’s share of what I’ve bookmarked for next semester’s XML and linked-data course. All along, I’ve wondered where the digital librarians, metadata librarians, records managers, and archivists—information professionals who describe information resources but are at best peripheral to the MARC establishment—were hiding in the linked-data ferment, as BIBFRAME certainly isn’t paying them much attention. After attending Semantic Web in Libraries 2013 (acronym SWIB because the conference takes place in Germany, where the word for libraries is “bibliotheken”), I know where they are and what they’re making: linked data that lives in the creases, building bridges across boundaries and canals through liminal spaces."


Salo continues, "Because linked data is designed to bridge diverse communities, vocabularies, and standards, it doesn’t show to best advantage in siloed, heavily-standardized arenas such as the current MARC environment. If BIBFRAME sometimes feels uncompelling on its own, this is likely why! Linked data shines most where diverse sources and types of data are forced to rub elbows, an increasing pain point for many libraries trying to make one-stop-shopping discovery layers and portals. I first noticed an implementation that spoke to that truth in 2012, when the Missouri History Museum demonstrated their use of linked data as a translation layer between disparate digital collections with differing metadata schemes. SWIB13 offered plentiful examples of similar projects, including an important one from the US side of the pond."


Read more here.


Image: Courtesy Flickr/ jm3