March 28, 2020

Linked Open Data: Impressions & Challenges Among Europe’s Research Libraries

From LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries):

LIBER’s Linked Open Data Working Group aims to paint a picture of the current state of Linked Open Data (LOD) among European research libraries and to provide insights which help research libraries to develop their LOD activities.

The group recently completed a review of practices which research libraries follow in making data linked and open. The review was based on a survey, which looked at processes for making data semantically interoperable.

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From the survey, it is clear that many libraries already use LOD in their processes. The following points were highlighted:

  • Linked data projects are diverse in their character and scope. At the same time, there are certainly situations where it would have been possible to use less divergent approaches.
  • The most notable expense related to publishing linked data is human labour. Providing guidance in the form of training and how-to guides is therefore of paramount importance.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all tool. A great variety of tools are used — commercial, open source and specialized — alongside locally developed routines.
  • The most commonly used vocabularies are GeoNamesVIAFISNIWikidata and Dublin CoreWikidata stood out as the most common external resource that the projects were linking to.
  • Data schemas used are often LOD-related: primarily SKOS and Schema.org, with mentions of FOAF and Dublin Core as well. A sizable minority opt for librarydomain specific schemas like the Europeana Data Model or BIBFRAME.
  • Libraries are keen to cooperate and exchange ideas. This fits the character of LOD which intrinsically demands acting and thinking globally even when doing things at a local scale, however the networks enabling this are still somewhat thin on the ground.

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Gary Price 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.

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