The transition roadmap presented here is based on two years of experimenting with various approaches to making a transition to Linked Data. The plan is driven by the following seven primary principles:
1. Insure accuracy of resulting data
2. Insure proper function of data in the wider information systems ecosystem
3. Minimize impacts on daily operations during transition
4. Minimize impacts on library workflows except where changes will result in increased efficiency and improved quality of work
5. Minimize the need for additional staff training
6. Maximize benefits Linked Data offers with regard to data sharing and interoperability
7. Maximize benefits Linked Data offers in terms of extensibility of descriptive practices and methods (improve depth of records)
The proposed transition plan is a two-phased plan, each comprised of multiple steps. Importantly, Phase One can be undertaken as an end-game transition process and will situate libraries to function in a Linked Data library ecosystem. Libraries that complete Phase One will be able to exchange BIBFRAME and other Linked Data graphs with other libraries and cultural heritage institutions with minimal impact on staff and systems, but also without capitalizing on the full potential of Linked Data. Libraries that go on to complete Phase Two will add to this the ability to capitalize on the extensibility inherent in Linked Data graph description and also introduce efficiencies in cataloging workflows. Libraries should seek the level of engagement that aligns with their in-house technical expertise, efforts performing original cataloging, desire to create a deeper and more descriptive catalog, and budget.
The following figure presents a high-altitude view of the proposed conversion roadmap, including milestones of each phase:
Figure 6: Transition process overview
The Primary focus of Phase One is preparing existing MARC records for transformation to Linked Data graphs. The involves inserting appropriate URIs into MARC records so that records can be converted into functioning Linked Data graphs that include machine actionable URIs. At the conclusion of Phase One, the catalog’s data store and cataloging user interface remain MARC based, but the presence of URIs in MARC records allows for the development of Application Programming Interfaces (API) to export and ingest Linked Data graphs. Libraries that lack the necessary resources, need, or are otherwise not interested in transitioning to complete internal Linked Data operations could stop at the completion of Phase One and function effectively in the wider Linked Data library ecosystem.
The Primary focus of Phase Two is converting the entire library information ecosystem to native Linked Data operations. During this phase of conversion, the catalog itself is converted to a Linked Data, graph-based architecture and cataloging interfaces and workflows are altered to maximize realization of the descriptive, search and discovery, and workflow benefits of Linked Data.