RDF, Linked Data, and the Library

Karen Coyle recently commented on the growing number of RDF and linked data projects in the field of library data. Coyle writes, “With the newly developed enthusiasm for RDF as the basis for library bibliographic data we are seeing a number of efforts to transform library data into this modern, web-friendly format. This is a positive development in many ways, but we need to be careful to make this transition cleanly without bringing along baggage from our past. Recent efforts have focused on translating library record formats into RDF with the result that we now have: ISBD in RDF, FRBR in RDF, [and] RDA in RDF, and will soon have MODS in RDF.”

Coyle continues, “In addition there are various applications that convert MARC21 to RDF, although none is ‘official.’ That is, none has been endorsed by an appropriate standards body. Each of these efforts takes a single library standard and, using RDF as its underlying technology, creates a full metadata schema that defines each element of the standard in RDF. The result is that we now have a series of RDF silos, each defining data elements as if they belong uniquely to that standard. We have, for example, at least four different declarations of ‘place of publication’: in ISBD, RDA, FRBR and MODS, each with its own URI.”

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Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Orin Zebest