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Linked Data for Cultural Heritage



Linked data is now essential for sharing collections on the open web. Linked Data for Cultural Heritage gathers a stellar list of contributors to help readers understand linked data concepts by examining practice and projects based in libraries, archives, and museums.

Linked open data remains very much a work in progress, and much of the progress has taken place within the domain of the cultural heritage institutions: libraries, archives, and museums. There is no question that the structure of linked data, and the machine inferencing it supports, shows great promise for discoverability. What will be the 'killer app' that breaks linked open data out to the wider world and accelerates its uptake? Perhaps it will be a project described in this volume.

Content covered includes:

  • a very simple description of linked data, summing up its promises and challenges
  • a survey of the use of linked data in significant projects across the cultural heritage domain, including Europeana and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
  • practical discussion of migrating a catalogue from a MARC environment to one of linked data and the possibilities that open up in terms of the broader scholarly community
  • reviewing and reimagining library thesauri, metadata schemas, and information discovery, to look at how controlled vocabularies integrate library practice with linked data
  • an examination of the role of authority control, identifiers and vocabularies, including use of the Web Ontology Language (OWL) and the SPARQL query language
  • Carol Jean Godby describes OCLC's experiments with as the foundation for a model of library resource description expressed as linked data
  • the development of the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME) data model and a description of the fundamental differences between MARC and BIBFRAME.

This survey of the cultural heritage linked data landscape will be a key resource for metadata practitioners and researchers within all cultural heritage contexts and all students and academics within the information science and digital humanities fields.

Introduction - Ed Jones
1. Linked Open Data and the Cultural Heritage Landscape - Hilary K. Thorsen and M. Christina Pattuelli
2. Making MARC Agnostic: Transforming the English Short Title Catalogue for the Linked Data Universe - Carl Stahmer
3. Authority Control for the Web: Integrating Library Practice with Linked Data - Allison Jai O'Dell
4. Linked Data Implications for Authority Control and Vocabularies: An STM Perspective - Iker Huerga and Michael P. Lauruhn
5. A Division of Labor: The Role of in a Semantic Web Model of Library Resources - Carol Jean Godby
6. BIBFRAME and Linked Data for Libraries - Sally McCallum

Ed Jones has been cataloguing serials, on and off, since 1976, and over the years has authored several scholarly papers and made numerous presentations on serials cataloguing, the FRBR and FRAD conceptual models, and RDA. He has been a member of the CONSER Operations Committee, on and off, since 1981, and recently served as an RDA advisor. In 1995, he received his doctorate in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is currently associate director for assessment and technical services at National University in San Diego. Michele Seikel is Professor of Digital Resources and Discovery Services at Oklahoma State University

What sets Linked Data for Cultural Heritage apart from other books on library linked data is the emphasis on cultural collections and their datasets—metadata that includes information about people, places, provenance, and relationships to other cultural collections ...Linked Data for Cultural Heritage is an effective, fresh commentary on the current uses of library linked data and its possible future.


Given that the overview of linked data presented here is generally accessible to those at all levels, I think that the volume achieves its objectives of being a resource for students and practitioners wishing to learn more about practical implementations and the workings of linked data models.

Archives and Manuscripts

Accessible to those who are following the library linked data conversation for the first time, but not a low-level introduction, either, chapters from this thoughtful compilation will be equally at home on the syllabus of an library and information science graduate course as on the reading list of a professional learning community of metadata, systems, and digital scholarship librarians.

Technical Services Quarterly (Boston College)

This refreshing volume cuts through much of the hype about linked data with clear-eyed discussions of the components that make up the semantic web, and delves into several current ongoing projects and implementations. The authors acknowledge that there are many challenges and that the work is still beginning. Though at first glance the work appears rather daunting and dense, on closer inspection it proves well-written and fascinating in its accounts of the semantic web's components. Highly recommended for those wishing further acquaintance with linked data, as well as others who may be well-versed in the topic.

Against the Grain (Library of Michigan)

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