Linked Data in Libraries: A Case Study of Harvesting and Sharing Bibliographic Metadata with BIBFRAME

Karim Tharani


By way of a case study this paper illustrates and evaluates the Bibliographic Framework (or BIBFRAME) as means for harvesting and sharing bibliographic metadata over the Web for libraries. BIBFRAME is an emerging framework developed by the Library of Congress for bibliographic description based on Linked Data. Much like Semantic Web, the goal of Linked Data is to make Web “data aware” and transform the existing Web of documents into a Web of data. Linked Data leverages the existing Web infrastructure and allows linking and sharing of structured data for human and machine consumption.

The BIBFRAME model attempts to contextualize the Linked Data technology for libraries. Library applications and systems contain high-quality structured metadata but this data is generally static in its presentation and seldom integrated with other internal metadata sources or linked to external Web resources. With BIBFRAME existing disparate library metadata sources such as catalogs and digital collections can be harvested and integrated over the Web. In addition, bibliographic data enriched with Linked Data could offer richer navigational control and access points for users. With Linked Data principles, metadata from libraries could also become harvestable by search engines, transforming dormant catalogs and digital collections into active knowledge repositories. Thus experimenting with Linked Data using existing bibliographic metadata holds the potential to empower libraries to harness the reach of commercial search engines to continuously discover, navigate, and obtain new domain specific knowledge resources on the basis of their verified metadata.

The initial part of the paper introduces BIBFRAME and discusses Linked Data in the context of libraries. The final part of this paper outlines a step-by-step process for implementing BIBFRAME with existing library metadata.


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