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The Semantic Web

I subscribe to ALA’s Library Technology Reports (LTR) series and find them very useful. Here’s a new one to review about the semantic web trend and libraries.

Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata

“If there is one constant, it is that throughout these nearly two centuries, the modern library has continually transformed itself in an effort to respond to the needs of its contemporary user.

Today, we face another significant time of change that is being prompted by today’s library user. This user no longer visits the physical library as his primary source of information, but seeks and creates information while connected to the global computer network. The change that libraries will need to make in response must include the transformation of the library’s public catalog from a stand-alone database of bibliographic records to a highly hyperlinked data set that can interact with information resources on the World Wide Web. The library data can then be integrated into the virtual working spaces of the users served by the library.

If all of this sounds otherworldly and vague, it is because there is no specific vision of where these changes will lead us. The crystal ball is unfortunately shortsighted, in no small part because this is a time of rapid change in many aspects of the information ecology. The few things that are certain, however, point to the Web, and its eventual successors, as the place to be. For libraries, this means yet another evolutionary step in the library of our catalog: from metadata to metaDATA.”

–Karen Coyle

There are a few trends under the hood in technology that will revolutionize the way content and experiences are presented to users on any device in the next few months and years. One of these is the semantic web and it’s worthy for every library professional to have a passing acquaintance with the concepts.

This short report would be a good start.

This slide show might be useful too:

Semantic Web Technologies for Digital Libraries

Stephen

Posted on: February 25, 2010, 10:45 am Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. As a researcher I often find that my internal semantic web is not much like a librarian’s semantic web. It can drive me to distraction sometimes, such that my library-computer-systems-manager partner has to block his ears!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. webdigest, vol. 1 linked to this post on March 30, 2010

    […] New ALA Report, ”Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata“, unfortunately its not free. However that is not the main point here I think. To me, the “semantic web” is one of the most overused buzzwords of the last couple of years. The idea sounds great, the implementations sound great but in practice, I just haven’t seen it work. Sure, there are projects like DBPedia or twine that have built impressive databases and suggestion engines around semantic technologies. But they just don’t breach my added value barrier – I don’t find them useful enough. Anyway, the semantic web is apparently (or obviously) coming to bibliographic metadata as well. Here you can read what the ALA thinks about it (via Stephen Abram). […]