January 23, 2022

Conference Paper: The Importance of Open Data to National Libraries

The following paper will be presented at the upcoming World Library and Information Congress, 78th IFLA General Conference and Assembly that will take place in Helsinki this August.


The Importance of Open Data to National Libraries


Elisabeth Niggemann
Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library)


IFLA General Conference 2012 Web Site


The German National Library (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, DNB) publishes most of its bibliographic data as open data under a Creative Commons Zero License (CC-0), following the examples of the European cultural heritage portal Europeana and many national and other libraries, among them the British Library and the Spanish National Library. These cultural strongly believe that serving the public today means opening up as many services, holdings and data as (legally, technically, organizationally …) possible, making them not only accessible via the World Wide Web but making their data an integral part of the World Wide Web! A very good example of a cooperative use of open data is Europeana and the paper will present the strategy and the process that led to the launch of Europeana’s new Data Exchange Agreement.

An obvious next step is to publish metadata not only as open data but as Linked Open Data (LOD). By linking different representations of related concepts in the Semantic Web, libraries can draw from that Web and enrich their own metadata and benefit locally. What is even more important is that they are able to really and seriously reach out to many more users in typical internet “places” like social networks, portals, and search engines. This will not only help them fulfill their public mission but also increase traffic back to the library’s site, helping them to monitor and prove their relevance in today’s’ internet based information universe. By publishing open data as LOD and as significant knots in the Semantic Web, libraries will create benefits for themselves and, most important, for the internet users of today and tomorrow.

Direct to Full Text (14 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.