Step One: Linked Data Lookup MARC Cataloging Workbench

The first step in the Phase One process is to establish a system for capturing and inserting URIs into newly created and/or edited records. This initiates an important transition that insures that all current and future work efforts will support a Linked Data transition.

From a technical perspective, switching to a workflow that allows capture and insertion of URIs at the point of cataloging represents a minor modification to the ILS system. As part of the BIBFLOW study we were able to successfully modify the open source KUALI-OLE Describe Module to perform Linked Data gateway lookups on Library of Congress, OCLC, VIAF, and Getty Vocabularies and to insert captured URIs into MARC records with minimal effort. All gateway sources provide API documentation to facilitate query and retrieval. OCLC Research has also made available experimental Javascript code for performing lookups.

Figure 8: Modified Kuali-Ole Describe interface showing VIAF Linked Data gateway lookup

Commercial ILS vendors are also working towards providing URI lookup and insertion as part of their standard offering. Ex Libris’ Alma, for example, UC Davis’s current ILS system, currently plans to offer this functionality. Additionally, all major ILS vendors and OCLC are currently running either public or internal pilot programs directed at providing Linked Data enabled versions of their products. Given the above, the human effort and associated costs of making this transition are minimal.

The workflow and systems impact of this transition on libraries currently using cloud-based ILS will be negligible. In this case, the technology overhead of the transition falls to the ILS vendor, and the staff training required to disambiguate from an authority file with no imbedded URIs to one with them is nil. This is similarly true for those using open source ILS. Running a local, open source ILS requires the in-house technical expertise to implement URI lookup and disambiguation developed internally or externally to the organization; however, our experimentation shows that this can be accomplished with minimal effort.

The libraries which will have the most difficulty in implementing this step in the first phase of the transition are those libraries currently running a non-cloud-based ILS. Moving to a URI enhanced ILS will require: 1) waiting until a URI enabled version of the ILS is available; and 2) implementing the new version. Libraries that fall into this category could, thus, not begin a transition until such time as their vendor releases a URI enabled version of the browser; and, when the transition is made, upgrading to the new version would require a moderate level of internal technology effort.

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