From the book catalogue to the card catalogue to the online catalogue, libraries have adapted their practices to take advantage of new...
From the book catalogue to the card catalogue to the online catalogue, libraries have adapted their practices to take advantage of new technologies, and have used these advancements to better serve library users. The next step in this evolution is already on the horizon: it is the web of data known commonly as the Semantic Web. Re-imagining library catalogues as a web of data has great potential for library users and all information seekers. Like the web of documents that is the current World Wide Web, the Semantic Web makes connections between resources. The Semantic Web, however, makes those connections meaningful. The transformation to Semantic Web style of metadata will allow libraries to serve users directly on the web, and will make possible an enhanced discovery environment that links documents and data in a rich web of relationships. The transformation of current library data to "linked data," with entities and relationships, has already begun. After a brief introduction to the concepts that underly the Semantic Web, Coyle will show how the library community is developing the structures necessary for the transformation. This development begins with a domain model (FRBR and other FR's), a standardized definition of data elements (DC, RDA, and others), the definition of relationships (FRBR and RDA), and the creation of machine-readable controlled vocabularies (Library of Congress and RDA). Experimentation with new data models, such as in the Open Library and Freebase, illustrate the value of this approach.