January 24, 2022

New Online: Preview Release of OCLC Bibliographic Works Data as Linked Open Data & New WorldCat Linked Data Explorer Interface

Two blog posts from members of the OCLC Research team provide background and details about today’s preview (now live) of 194 million linked data bibliographic work descriptions and a new online tool to view them.

1. From Roy Tennant on Hanging Together (OCLC Research Blog):

Today in Cape Town, South Africa, at the OCLC Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Council (EMEARC) Meeting, my colleagues Richard Wallis and Ted Fons made an announcement that should make all library coders and data geeks leap to their feet. I certainly did, and I work here. However, viewed from our perspective this is simply another step along a road that we set out on some time ago. More on that later, but first to the big news:

  • We have established “work records” for bibliographic records in WorldCat, which bring together the sometimes numerous manifestations of a work into one logical entity.
  • We are exposing these records as linked open data on the web, with permanent identifiers that can be used by other linked data aggregations.
  • We have provided a human readable interface to these records, to enable and encourage understanding and use of this data.

Read the Complete Hanging Together Post by Roy Tennant
2. From Richard Wallis on the DataLiberate Blog:

The vocabulary used to describe the data is based upon Schema.org, and enhancements to it recommended and proposed by the Schema Bib Extend W3C Community Group


This is the first production release of WorldCat infrastructure delivering linked data.  The first step in what will be an evolutionary, and revolutionary journey, to provide interconnected linked data views of the rich entities (works, people, organisations, concepts, places, events) captured in the vast shared collection of bibliographic records that makes up WorldCat.  Mining those, 311+ million, records is not a simple task, even to just identify works. It takes time, and a significant amount of [Big Data] computing resources.  One of the key steps in this process is to identify where they exist connections between works and authoritative data hubs, such as VIAF, FAST, LCSH, etc. 

[Our emphasis] In this preview release, it is some of those connections that are not yet in place.

The data is live [in preview mode], and most importantly the work URIs are persistent.

It is also available under an open data license (ODC-BY).


In a very few weeks, once the next update to the WorldCat linked data has been processed, you will find that links to works will be embedded in the already published linked data.  For example you will find the following in the data for OCLC number 53474380.

Example of Linked Data Viewed in New Linked Data Explorer

Much More From Richard Wallis About Today’s News in the Full Text Blog Post

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.