May 26, 2022

OCLC Research Launches Work in Multilingual Bibliographic Structure

From an OCLC Research Announcement:

More than half of the 300 million bibliographic records in WorldCat, the world’s largest network of library content and services, represent resources in languages other than English.


In order to leverage the multilingual content in WorldCat and make it easier for users to identify resources in their preferred language and script, OCLC Research has launched the multilingual bibliographic structure activity to mine the data from translated works, with the goal of improving work clustering, presentation, linked data representations and to contribute generally to global knowledge.

We’re also generating work-translation (“expression level”) records—including the translated title and translator with links to the original work and the author—and adding them to VIAF (Virtual International Authority File), flagged as “xR”. At the same time, we’re marking up these generated VIAF records using linked data schema so that the relationship of each work with their associated translations and translators can be shared in the Semantic Web.

Identifying the records representing translations will enable presenting a work in the user’s preferred language, where available. This work will also enable us to gain a better understanding of the extent information is shared across cultures, e.g., the percentage of non-English works representing translations of English works, and vice-versa.

The project is being led by OCLC Research Program Officer, Karen Smith-Yoshimura.

Direct to Multilingual Bibliographic Structure Project Page

Learn More: “Challenges posed by translations” (A Hanging Together Blog Post by  Karen Smith-Yoshimura)
From May 20, 2014.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.