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Linked data for skeptics

See also:
linked data for beginners 
linked data for directors
linked data for metadata librarians

Linked data isn’t a new concept, but it’s only recently available specifically for libraries. As with all new concepts, the promise can be hard to wrap your head around. We recommend first reading our overviews of Linked data for beginners, Linked data for directors, and Linked data for metadata librarians, which should give you a basic understanding of why linked data is important. Still left with questions? Here are some answers.

Can’t I just do it myself?

You could try, but there are many reasons not to. Linked data is pretty complex and requires time and expertise to manage. The advantage to choosing something like our Linked Library Service is that we publish your data in four different formats, designed to meet the formats of other linked data vocabularies and services. And we publish your data to a gigantic network (the Network) where the power of each individual library is multiplied by virtue of being part of a large, trusted, network of data. It's this trusted nature of the data that makes a huge difference to web search engines. Also, using Linked Library Services means that if the librarian with structured data technical skills leaves your library, your linked data presence on the web will continue, uninterrupted.

Aren’t I already visible on the web?

Some library records are already visible - like those from Bibliocommons and Overdrive - but they are only part of your library's story. Linked Library Service is complementary to these efforts and expands your visbility in a comprehensive way. More importantly, the web wants to see libraries, not their vendors. Libraries often have several vendors providing everything from movies to audiobooks to music. Web searchers don’t want five links to five different vendors, they want ONE link to a library catalog that shows all the library resources available to them. With Linked Library Service, NoveList is making your library records visible. Whether you change your ILS provider or changed ebook vendors, using Linked Library Services provides a consistent link to your library - not to your vendor - for all your resources.

If I get linked data, then I don’t need a discovery service, right?

It's actually just the opposite. Linked data gets your library resources visible on the web. And then discovery services (like EBSCO Discovery Service) create a welcoming and comprehensive place from which to explore all your library has to offer, all in one place. Linked Library Service gets patrons TO your catalog. EBSCO Discovery Service improves their experience ONCE they've arrived.

Why do I have to put in the location to get results?

For right now, this is the best way to get results. We expect this to shift once the web better understands library data. We already bake geolocated data (your specific location) into each piece of data we publish to the web, but it will take some time for the web to learn to make use of it.A good analogy is movie data: you used to have to find a local movie theater website to get showtimes, and now you can just search "movies" and the web generally understands that you want to see movie showtimes near you. This will take some time for library data to do the same but will be exciting when we get there! You'll want to be at the party when it starts.

So this is beta then?

It's better to think of it this way: the web itself is a work in progress. Algorithms change. Rules of best practice change. Formats change. And libraries are racing to catch up with the new rules. One thing that we know: we will remain fluid to keep up with new possibilities.

As we continue to transform library data to conform to the new rules of the web, we're just getting started


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