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Linked data for metadata librarians

Catalogers know the power of well-crafted and well-organized metadata. Backend data doesn’t always get the credit it deserves, but metadata is at the heart of a powerful search. The power of metadata is evident in each catalog search.

Linked data is both the same—and very different—for the basic reason that searching a catalog is the same—and very different—than searching the open web.

Similarities and differences

The major similarity between a catalog record and linked data: there is both a human friendly and a machine optimized side, and the power in the search is the machine optimized side.

The data matters. When searching, the differences become apparent.

The same person searching a catalog will type in different information and expect different results than they will when doing an internet search. When looking for a movie, you can type movies into a search bar and get relevant results: movies playing near your zip code.

Linked data makes these results possible.

A similar search would not work in a library catalog, nor should it. The web is designed for answer-seeking, question-less requests; a library catalog is not.

Linked Library Service is the bridge between these two. MARC records (highly structured data) are transformed into a language that web crawlers understand and are published back to the web. As algorithms begin to understand the questions people have that library resources would answer, the results page will begin to change in ways we can’t imagine. Do we even know all the ways library data will answer the billions of questions typed in to Google?

Enough libraries need to participate to capture the attention of search engines.

The second difference lies on the other side of the computer - the data that causes particular results to be returned. In a library catalog, correctness of detail matters. With linked data, relationships and linking trump correctness. Sophisticated algorithms make up for variations in data.

NoveList Select for Linked Data impacts your visibility. NoveList enrichment creates more access points, more relationships, more links, and more data for algorithms to understand and respond to. The machine friendly side of the data is richer, while the human friendly side looks nicer.

Seeing the data

You might say, “Show me the data!” Because linked data is - by definition - open, it's available for you to see. Each library in the network has their own, branded, linked data page. Check out East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s at

Numbers are power. They are about the library community speaking in one voice about library resources. The future isn’t about competing with Google anymore; it’s about using Google to drive patrons and potential patrons to our resources.

Want to know more? Read more about Linked Library Service. Then schedule an individual demo or request a custom quote.