Libraries Australia and linked data

Some time ago, Libraries Australia was asked the question: What preparation and training is Libraries Australia undertaking for Bibframe?

We thought that this question and our answer would be of interest to the broader Libraries Australia community, and share our response below:

BIBFRAME is a data model for bibliographic description and is often discussed in the context of implementing linked data solutions. The Libraries Australia team is not undertaking formal training in BIBFRAME. However, we recognise that this question about BIBFRAME is positioned within the context of broader interest in metadata management and linked data.

Like most libraries around the globe, the National Library of Australia is keenly observing the emerging metadata management landscape, and in particular we are looking at implementations of linked data. The Libraries Australia team, alongside our colleagues at the National Library, is also observing linked data implementations. Our big question is: what metadata management and metadata delivery issues do we need to resolve by implementing linked data?

Libraries Australia has noted there is interest in the activities of the National Library and Libraries Australia in terms of linked data. In the last 18 months, the National Library has engaged in the following activities to learn about, promote, and investigate the possibilities of linked data:

  • Created a short-term ‘Linked Data Working Group’ – made up of people across the library involved in resource description, Libraries Australia, and Trove. The group researched 3 work packages to learn more about linked data and what the National Library may need to consider before moving into this area. The work packages were:
    • Investigate available training options and costs for learning about linked data (including freely available options)
    • An environmental scan to gather a picture of current Linked Data activities across the globe
    • Develop a broad road map to identify the objectives of the working group –
      • to build corporate understanding and knowledge of linked data
      • to provide direction to the group of next steps

The group engaged a number of people in discussions about linked data that generally raised attention to the issue and developed through the work packages developed some internal reference documents. However, the overwhelming perspective of the group was that the National Library needs to identify the business case to implement linked data, allocate appropriate resources, and implement in a structured way to get the most value out of the possibilities and potential of linked data. In the context of the Library’s focus on the Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement (DLIR) project – this was not possible to divert staff time and resources to a new infrastructure project.

Nevertheless, the Library participated in the International Linked Data Survey 2015 – to flag our interest in Linked Data. One of our responses below:

Response to International Linked Data Survey 2015
The National Library is in the early stages of determining our engagement and direction with linked data. The Library has established in internal 'Linked Data Working Group'. The group is focused on 3 areas: conducting a broad environmental scan of linked data activities; collating relevant training materials to help build knowledge and understanding of linked data across the organisation; and develop a roadmap for linked data at the National Library.

The National Library of Australia is considering which of its data sets to expose and deploy as linked data - i.e., the National Library's catalogue; the National Union Catalogue - Australian National Bibliographic Database; or the data contained within Trove - the national aggregation and discovery service.

The Library is observing the developments of BIBFRAME and schema.org - and will consider whether the creation of linkable data will be part of the National Library's linked data roadmap. In addition, we are interested in exploring the 'linkability' of our non-bibliographic data - such as directory information and events data.

There are a number of projects outside our institution that are inspirations and of interest - but do not have specific examples to list here.

Karen Smith-Yoshimura (from OCLC) was one of the lead investigators on the survey and has written about the responses in the OCLC Hanging Together blog series. Also available via OCLC research: http://www.oclc.org/research/themes/data-science/linkeddata.html#linked-data-survey.

Earlier today (12 July 2016) Karen Smith-Yoshimura blogged about the 2015 International Linked Data Survey results at http://hangingtogether.org/?p=5672. Her report on the 2015 survey has just been published in the latest edition of D-Lib Magazine http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july16/smith-yoshimura/07smith-yoshimura.html

  • The 2015 Libraries Australia Forum had a focus on linked data in a lively panel session “Experiments in linked open data” hosted by Ingrid Mason (eResearch Analyst at Intersect Australia). On the panel were: Karen Smith-Yoshimura, Peter Neish, and Ebe Kartus – talking about their experiences with Linked Data.
  • An audio recording of the panel session is available on the Libraries Australia website at: http://www.nla.gov.au/librariesaustralia/news-events/forum/2015-forum/2015-forum-program
    If you were not able to attend the Libraries Australia Forum, it is worth listening to the panel session to hear questions from the floor and the perspectives of the panel speakers.
  • Another activity at the National Library is the focus of a recent Travelling Fellowship sponsored by the Friends of the National Library. In June 2016 Monika Szunejko (Director, Libraries Australia) visited the British Library and Bibliothèque Nationale de France to investigate their implementations of linked data in the context of their national union catalogues. Information about the Travelling Fellowship will be shared via the forthcoming Libraries Australia Newsletter (August 2016), and formal findings of the research project will be presented at ALIA Information Online 2017.
  • And within the Libraries Australia context, we are very pleased to see that the ACT Libraries Australia User Group has decided to add ‘linked data’ as a regular topic to their meeting agenda – to build and exchange knowledge about linked data and its possibilities. This is replacing RDA as their regular professional development topic. We hope that this may be adopted by other user groups as the Australian library community continues to grow its knowledge of linked data and the semantic web.

If your library is currently investigating BIBFRAME, schema.org, linked data in general, or simply pondering large-scale metadata management issues, please don’t hesitate to notify the Libraries Australia team. We are very keen to hear about experiences and experiments in linked data from the Libraries Australia community and would be interested to share your stories with the community. Because metadata matters.

Monika Szunejko | Director, Libraries Australia | National Library of Australia
t: +61 2 6262 1215 | m: 0418 821 599 | e: monika.szunejko@nla.gov.au |www.nla.gov.au

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