The Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) with the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) conducted at week-long workshop on the prospects for a large scale, multi-national, multi-institutional prototype of a Linked Data environment for discovery of and navigation among the rapidly, chaotically expanding array of academic information resources. As preparation for the workshop, CLIR sponsored a survey by Jerry Persons, Chief Information Architect emeritus of SULAIR that was published originally for workshop participants as background to the workshop and is now publicly available. The original intention of the workshop was to devise a plan for such a prototype. However, such was the diversity of knowledge, experience, and views of the potential of Linked Data approaches that the workshop participants turned to two more fundamental goals: building common understanding and enthusiasm on the one hand and identifying opportunities and challenges to be confronted in the preparation of the intended prototype and its operation on the other.
My favorite outcome of the workshop was the Value Statement consisting of 7 “pithy” statements on Why Linked Data Approaches are Worth Modeling/Prototyping (p. 20 of the Workshop Report):
- Linked open data (LOD) puts information where people are looking for it – on the web
- LOD can expands discoverability of our content
- LOD opens opportunities for creative innovation in digital scholarship and participation
- LOD allows for open continuous improvement of data
- LOD creates a store of machine-actionable data on which improved services can be built
- Library linked open data might facilitate the break down the tyranny of domain silos
- LOD can provide direct access to data in ways that are not currently possible, and provides unanticipated benefits that will emerge later as the stores of LOD expand exponentially.
Here at Stanford, we have appointed Phil Schreur, Head of the Metadata Department, to be the Master of Linked Data Projects. Phil will be working with Jerry Persons (our Chief Information Architect emeritus), Michael Keller (University Librarian) and eventulay Hugh Glaser (University of Southampton) to generate a model for a sizable prototype of a discovery/navigation environment based on Linked Open Data.
Stanford Libraries will also continue to pursue our alliance with Metaweb/Freebase in transcoding our bibliographic facts to URIs. We will continue sending HighWire micro-data to Schema.org, which then finds its way to DBpedia. We are also exploring linked data collaborations with the British Library, the British Museum, and JISC.