Opening up library databases with linked data

Databases like the WASH Library and the SuSanA Library would be of far greater value if their catalogue records were made available as open linked data, i,e,

available to anyone, in a machine-processable format that [can] immediately be integrated automatically with similar data from other sources, rather than available only to human eyeballs via the library’s online catalogue (excellent as that might be) [Semantic Publishing, 01 Mar 2013].

An OCLC video provides a good introduction to the linked data concept and how libraries can use and are using linked data.

It is clear that classic stand-alone library applications are on the way out.

Libraries can either participate in the larger metadata community via technologies like linked data and the Semantic Web or they can be pushed aside and ignored. [Virginia Schilling, 2012]

Following a digital review, IRC will be launching a new website later this year. The intention is to transform the WASH Library into a central document repository, which be fully integrated into the new website. This will require the development of a system-wide ontology (tagging system) for the website. One of the sources for the ontology will be IRC InterWATER Thesaurus.

RDA: Resource Description and Access

The RDA: Resource Description and Access is set to become the new international cataloguing standard for all kinds of materials, especial;y digital resources.
Some interesting elements from the RDA brochure:
  • RDA emphasizes ‘taking what you see’, thus encouraging machine-capture of metadata without extensive editing – saving cataloguers’ time.
  • RDA’s use of FRBR entities makes it possible to design better displays in catalogues for clustering information about the same title together (e.g., translations,abridgements, different physical formats).
The full table of elements of  RDA is published in RDA Element Analysis (July 2009) [PDF format]
It would be worthwhile for a WASH Information Consortium to set up a working group on information standards/cataloguing that would look more closely at the usefulness of RDA, digital identifiers etc.
Web links: