October 22, 2021

Linked Data: OCLC Awarded Two-Year, $2.4 Million Mellon Grant to Develop a Shared “Entity Management Infrastructure”

From OCLC:

OCLC has been awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a shared “Entity Management Infrastructure” that will support linked data management initiatives underway in the library and scholarly communications community. When complete, this infrastructure will be jointly curated by the community and OCLC, and will ultimately make scholarly materials more connected and discoverable on the web.

The two-year grant, for $2.436 million, will support work on the project that will run from January 2020 to December 2021. The Mellon grant funding represents approximately half of the total cost of the Entity Management Infrastructure project. OCLC is contributing the remaining half of the required investment.

“OCLC has been a leader in library linked data research for years, and we have developed prototypes, innovative pilot programs and partnerships that continue to inform our work,” said Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO. “OCLC enables libraries to work together to achieve economies, efficiencies, and consistency in metadata creation. We’re grateful to The Mellon Foundation for their generous support for this project. And we’re eager to apply our knowledge and expertise to develop this infrastructure on behalf of libraries and the scholarly communications community.”

OCLC will use the grant funding to publish authoritative and easily accessible entity descriptions for works and persons as part of a persistent, centralized infrastructure. The infrastructure will aggregate links to other representations of those works and persons in external vocabularies and authority files. OCLC will also provide APIs to support libraries implementing metadata workflows for linked data.

“These entities will establish a solid foundation upon which libraries, cultural heritage organizations, and scholarly communications communities can rely to manage their collections and research outputs and make them more easily discoverable on the web,” said Mary Sauer-Games, OCLC Vice President, Global Product Management.

Libraries are always seeking opportunities to make scholarly materials and other collections more discoverable on the web. They also want to expand opportunities to connect their collections to other relevant collections. The creation of a centralized infrastructure that provides linked data entities that are discoverable, reliable, and sustainable will provide a critical foundation for libraries working to achieve those objectives.

“For linked data to move into common use, libraries need reliable and persistent identifiers and metadata for the critical entities they rely on. This project begins to build that infrastructure and advances the whole field,” said Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC Vice President, Membership and Research, and Chief Strategist.

OCLC will work with leading national libraries, federal agencies, and research libraries to ensure that its infrastructure is sustainable and compatible with their efforts. Specifically, OCLC will engage with the LD4P community—libraries participating in the Linked Data for Production project, led by Stanford University Libraries and also funded by Mellon—to ensure that the system matches the evolution of the library linked data environment.

OCLC anticipates offering a range of options for access to the entity infrastructure—some made freely available to the library community and others made available via subscription. OCLC will publish URIs and metadata for the entities via the web, and will provide methods for library staff to edit, enrich and add to this set of entities. OCLC will also provide APIs to expand the adoption and integration of these entities in workflows in and outside of the library.

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.