December 9, 2016

Be the heroine of your library’s story with linked data

Here at NoveList, we talk a lot about linked data. We talk about the importance of relevance, why libraries need linked data (and why timing matters), how NoveList Select for Linked Data amplifies the effects, and what the buzz behind linked data means. We talk about linked data and we know that you’re talking about linked data -- at conferences, with colleagues, and with your cats after reading articles in Library Journal, etc. (okay, maybe that last one is just me).

All these conversations boil down to libraries taking their data and using it to tell their story. Since I write romance novels, I jokingly refer to this in the same terms that I use to talk about romance novel heroines: with linked data, libraries are the heroines of their own stories.

Bear with me as I explain.

Before Cinderella can meet Prince Charming, she has to get dressed up and go to the ball. Transforming your data into linked data is the process that gets you into the party. Being at the party is important. Being present means web crawlers will begin to find you as they circulate around the information published to the web, looking to see who’s new and who has information people might want. You’ll be seen, even if you’re a wallflower. This is organic searching.

But there are other possibilities for Cinderella. As the host learns that she’s there and that she’s got good qualities previously hidden away, she might be taken in hand and introduced around until she meets people who say, “Yes! This is the information I needed.” This is direct searching.

Cinderella is a modern romance heroine, so she doesn’t have to rely on the host to introduce her around. She can kick her skirts out of the way and introduce herself to the people next to her. Now your data and your library are getting interesting.

Over the course of the next several blog posts, I’ll talk about some intriguing things that are happening to libraries’ linked data, developments that are akin to both a host introducing your library data around and to your library data kicking its skirt out of the way and marching around the party to introduce itself.

Of course, like all metaphors, this one breaks down. Libraries aren’t looking for one Prince Charming; they’re looking for the thousands of people in their communities who don’t realize what fabulous resources they have to offer. And, in this case, the more libraries who have linked and published their MARC records, the more Prince Charmings will show up, too. With a critical mass of libraries, the party will be one *no one* wants to miss.

One place this metaphor does hold: like in the Cinderella story, timing matters. If only a couple libraries show up to the ball early, it’s not going to be much of a ball. And when the clock strikes midnight, there’s no guarantee that Prince Charming will come looking for your library’s glass slipper if you weren’t at the party.

Want a non-fairy tale explanation of linked data? Check out our webcast, Linked Data: Building the Future for Libraries. We've got lots of information over on our Linked Library Service webpage and you can always request a demo for more detail.

Stay tuned for those exciting blog posts. No Cinderella metaphors in those, I promise. 

Jennifer Lohmann is a Sales and Marketing Specialist at NoveList.


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