Linked data for the perplexed librarian

For Immediate Release
Wed, 02/05/2020


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Linked data is already happening right now, evident in projects from Big Tech and the Wikimedia Foundation as well as the web pages of library service platforms. The goal of exposing cultural institutions’ records to the web is as important as ever—but for the non-technically minded, linked data can feel like a confusing morass of abstraction, jargon, and acronyms. Get conversant with “Linked Data for the Perplexed Librarian,” published by ALA Editions in collaboration with the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS). In this monograph, Scott Carlson, Cory Lampert, Darnelle Melvin, and Anne Washington:

  • summarize the origins of linked data, from early computers and the creation of the World Wide Web through RDF;
  • walk readers through the practical, everyday side of creating, identifying, and representing semantically rich linked data using as an example the funk classic Mothership Connection album from the band Parliament;
  • explain the concept of ontologies;
  • explore such linked data projects as Open Graph, DBpedia, BIBFRAME, and’s Bib Extension;
  • offer suggested solo and group entry-level projects for linked data-curious librarians who wish to dive deeper; and
  • provide a handy glossary and links to additional resources.

Carlson is a library software developer for Arizona State University. Previously, he was metadata coordinator at Rice University’s Fondren Library and cataloging and metadata librarian at the American University of Sharjah (in the United Arab Emirates). Lampert is a professor and the head of digital collections at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is active in grant-writing, building collaborative digitization and community engagement partnerships, and mentoring new professionals. Melvin is the special collections and archives metadata librarian and an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His work explores linked data implementation, metadata remediation tools/services, workflow engineering and optimization, and semantic and syntactic interoperability. Washington is the metadata services coordinator at the University of Houston Libraries. Her research interests include technologies, such as linked data, that have the potential to more broadly expose and connect resources, as well as inclusive, user-centered approaches to metadata.

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