BIBFLOW: A Roadmap for Library Linked Data Transition

Prepared 14 March, 2017

MacKenzie Smith
Carl G. Stahmer
Xiaoli Li
Gloria Gonzalez

University Library, University of California, Davis
Zepheira Inc.

Research support by the Institute for Museum and Library Services

I. Introduction

BIBFLOW is an Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funded multi-year project of the University of California Davis Library and Zepheira Corporation. Traditional library data methods are out of sync with the data storage, transmission, and linking standards that drive the new information economy. As a result, new standards and technologies are sorely needed to help the library community leverage the benefits and efficiencies that the Web has afforded other industries. The findings in this report are the result of research focused on how libraries should adapt their practices, workflows, software systems, and partnerships to support their evolution to new standards and technologies. In conducting this research, the BIBFLOW team collaborated and communicated with partners across the library data ecosystem – key organizations like the Library of Congress, OCLC, library vendors, standards organizations like NISO, software tool vendors, commercial data providers, and other libraries that are trying to plan for change. We also experimented with various technologies as a means of testing Linked Data transition and operation workflows. The specific focus of this study was the Library of Congress’ emerging BIBFRAME model, a framework developed specifically to help libraries leverage Linked Data capabilities.

This report is the result of two years of research across the spectrum of Linked Data implementation and operations. Its purpose is to provide a roadmap that individual libraries can use to plan their own transition to Linked Data operations. It makes specific recommendations regarding a phased transition approach designed to minimize costs and increase the efficiency and benefits of transition. An analysis of specific transition tools is provided, as well as an analysis of workflow transitions and estimated training and work effort requirements.

A key finding of the report is that libraries are better positioned than most believe to transition to Linked Data. The wider Linked Data ecosystem and the semantic web in general are built on the bedrock of shared, unique identifiers for both entities (people, places, etc.) and actions (authored, acquired, etc.). Libraries have a long history of shared data governance and standards; as such, library culture is well suited to transitioning to Linked Data, and library structured data (MARC) is well situated for data transformation. In light of the above, it is our conclusion that Linked Data represents an opportunity rather than a challenge, and this roadmap is intended to serve as a guide for libraries wishing to seize this opportunity.

Use the links below to read all sections of the roadmap or download the entire report in PDF format here:

I. Introduction (this page)
II. Why Linked Data
III. Transition Fundamentals
IV. Roadmap Overview
V. Phase One: Linked Data in a MARC Ecosystem
V.a. Step One: Linked Data Lookup MARC Cataloging Workbench
V.b Step Two: Batch MARC URI Insertion
V.c Step Three: Linked Data Import/Export API
V.d Phase One Completion
VI. Phase Two: Transition to a Native Linked Data Ecosystem
VI.a Step One: Staged Transition to Linked Data Native Cataloging
VI.b Step Two: Batch Conversion of Legacy MARC Records
VI.c Step Three: Iterative Conversion of Non-Catalog Library Systems
VII. Transitioning Workflows
VII.a Copy Cataloging
VII.b Original Cataloging
VII.c Serials Cataloging
VIII. Authority Control
IX. Vendor Engagement
X. Discovery
XI. Survey of Current Library Linked Data Implementations
Appendix A: Vendor Engagement Matrix
Appendix B: Glossary of Terms