This article presents a brief background on linked data, then discusses the ways that library institutions are working to make library data available in this format. In 2011, three major search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) announced the launch of schema.org, a “structured data markup vocabulary that enables webmasters to nest metadata,” which helps speed up the adoption of structured data markup and has helped search engines do some exciting new things. An excellent example of this is Google’s “Knowledge Graph” panels – the small boxes of information that sometimes pop up to the right of search results. And this is just a small sample of how schema.org is helping create a “Web of Data,” evolving from a web of separate pages.
Although from the early days of the Web libraries have mostly blocked search engines from crawling their sites, more librarians are now pushing to increase visibility on the web. This effort faces increased challenges from the emerging “Web of Data,” as libraries’ traditional MARC records are structured very differently from metadata browsers can read. OCLC and the Library of Congress are trying to overcome these obstacles, although in slightly diverging ways. LOC is working on BIBFRAME, creating a compatible standard still tailored to library needs from the ground up. OCLC is starting with schema.org’s microtags, lobbying and adapting them to make them more library friendly.
This article was extremely helpful for me – partly because anything that helps make BIBFRAME and linked data clearer for me is valuable – and partly because it showed that there are always multiple useful ways for libraries to adapt and change to new technologies.