July 28, 2021

Linked Data: Final Report of Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force

From the Introduction of the Report (via Canadian Federation of Library Associations):

In 2012, Philip Schreur, Associate University Librarian for Technical and Access Services at Stanford Libraries, stated that the “conversion of our bibliographic records from MARC to linked open data will become one of the most powerful drivers in the transformation to the Semantic Web, placing our data and resources where people are searching, and tying them intelligently tot he wealth of the Web.”

Now in 2020, with the goal to enable library metadata to interact with the ever-growing network of linked data on the Web, the U.S. Library of Congress (LC) is nearing full implementation of the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME) as its replacement for the MARC record format. It is anticipated that in 2021, LC will move to cataloguing solely within the BIBFRAME format, and will rely on its BIBFRAME2MARC and MARC2BIBFRAME converters to share MARC records with the rest of the library community. Although many of us will not be ready to transition to BIBFRAME for some time, we will increasingly see the effects of BIBFRAME within the MARC record ecosystem​.

In the past few years, several individual libraries and collaborations of libraries around the world have either moved or are in the process of transitioning to the BIBFRAME format. Vendors aswell as some groups of libraries are now working to develop tools, methods, and workflows to catalogue in BIBFRAME, as well as to develop discovery layers for end-users to search BIBFRAME data. The international library community has now reached a tipping point fromwhich it will see more and more libraries transitioning away from MARC and into BIBFRAME and other linked data formats. Next steps for libraries will be to investigate how BIBFRAME and other library linked data initiatives can connect with the increasing quantity of linked data on the Semantic Web, such as schema.org and Wikidata (Allison-Cassin & Scott, 2018; Scott, 2014).

In 2015, a group of Canadian libraries took the proactive step of coming together through the Canadian Linked Data Initiative (CLDI) as a venue for discussion on all aspects of linked data initiatives in Canadian libraries. There were eight working groups with members from across Canada to cover Digital Projects, Education and Training, Grants, IT, Metadata, Planning, and User Experience, as well as the Groupe francophone. Many working groups included discussion about BIBFRAME as part of their larger conversations, acknowledging that — although it will be a significant step for many — BIBFRAME is only one part of transitioning library metadata to linked data. Behind the Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force mandate is the idea that the Canadian library community will be more successful in adapting to BIBFRAME and a linked data environment by coming together and moving forward together. As a community, what do we already know about BIBFRAME and linked data? And what are the foundations we all need tolearn so that we are each prepared to make decisions about when, how, and if each of our institutions will make the transition from MARC to the BIBFRAME format?

Behind the Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force mandate is the idea that the Canadian library community will be more successful in adapting to BIBFRAME and a linked data environment by coming together and moving forward together. As a community, what do we already know about BIBFRAME and linked data? And what are the foundations we all need to learn so that we are each prepared to make decisions about when, how, and if each of our institutions will make the transition from MARC to the BIBFRAME format?

Direct to Full Text Report
21 pages; PDF.

See Also: Statement from Library and Archives Canada on Release of the Report

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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