Linked Data for Libraries, Archives and Museums

Jun 2014 | 282pp

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Linked Data for Libraries, Archives and Museums
How to clean, link and publish your metadata

Seth van Hooland and Ruben Verborgh

This highly practical handbook teaches you how to unlock the value of your existing metadata through cleaning, reconciliation, enrichment and linking and how to streamline the process of new metadata creation.

Libraries, archives and museums are facing up to the challenge of providing access to fast growing collections whilst managing cuts to budgets. Key to this is the creation, linking and publishing of good quality metadata as Linked Data that will allow their collections to be discovered, accessed and disseminated in a sustainable manner. 

This highly practical handbook teaches you how to unlock the value of your existing metadata through cleaning, reconciliation, enrichment and linking and how to streamline the process of new metadata creation. Metadata experts Seth van Hooland and Ruben Verborgh introduce the key concepts of metadata standards and Linked Data and how they can be practically applied to existing metadata, giving readers the tools and understanding to achieve maximum results with limited resources. Readers will learn how to critically assess and use (semi-)automated methods of managing metadata through hands-on exercises within the book and on the accompanying website. Each chapter is built around a case study from institutions around the world, demonstrating how freely available tools are being successfully used in different metadata contexts. 

This handbook delivers the necessary conceptual and practical understanding to empower practitioners to make the right decisions when making their organisations resources accessible on the Web

Key topics include

  • The value of metadata
  • Metadata creation – architecture, data models and standards
  • Metadata cleaning
  • Metadata reconciliation
  • Metadata enrichment through Linked Data and named-entity recognition
  • Importing and exporting metadata
  • Ensuring a sustainable publishing model

Readership: This will be an invaluable guide for metadata practitioners and researchers within all cultural heritage contexts, from library cataloguers and archivists to museum curatorial staff. It will also be of interest to students and academics within information science and digital humanities fields. IT managers with responsibility for information systems, as well as strategy heads and budget holders, at cultural heritage organisations, will find this a valuable decision-making aid.

Foreword - Sebastian Chan 

1. Introduction

  • Metadata at the crossroads
  • Definition and scope of key concepts
  • Position and originality of the handbook
  • Structure and learning objectives
  • Get in touch!
  • Note
  • References  

2. Modelling

  • Introduction
  • Tabular data
  • Relational model
  • Meta-markup languages
  • Linked data
  • Conclusion
  • Case study: linked data at your fingertips
  • Notes
  • References  

3. Cleaning

  • Introduction
  • A new field of data quality
  • Data profiling
  • Conclusion
  • Case study: Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts
  • Notes
  • Bibliography  

4. Reconciling

  • Introduction
  • Controlled vocabularies
  • Semantics and machines
  • Bringing controlled vocabularies to the web
  • Enabling interconnections
  • Conclusion
  • Case study: Powerhouse Museum
  • Notes
  • References  

5. Enriching

  • Introduction
  • The potential of crowdsourcing
  • Embracing scale
  • Gold mining for semantics
  • Managing ambiguous uRLs
  • Conclusion
  • Case study: the british Library
  • Notes
  • References  

6. Publishing

  • Introduction
  • Identifying content with URLs
  • Marking up content
  • A web for humans and machines
  • Conclusion
  • Case study: Cooper-hewitt National Design Museum
  • Notes
  • References  

7. Conclusions

  • Statistics, probability and the humanities
  • Market forces
  • Use of URLs
  • Engage
  • Note 
  • References

"Van Hooland and Verborgh’s handbook on linked data is the first book-length treatment of the subject aimed at museum curators, librarians, archivists and people working in digital humanities. The authors’ ambition is to make linked data and the challenges associated with it more comprehensible to heritage professionals. The tone and organization of the handbook are overtly pedagogical. Its chapters are intended not only to follow a logical progression – looking in turn at modelling, cleaning, reconciling, enriching and publishing metadata, topped and tailed by an introduction and conclusion – but also to be usable individually...In summary, this handbook is a rewarding introduction to the topic of linked data and justifies its place on the professional’s bookshelf. It is probably essential reading for any archivist with, or aiming to develop, a special interest in how metadata can or should be made fit for purpose."
- Archives and Records

"Van Hooland and Verborgh have taken the time and effort to provide a comprehensive primer on linked data concepts that can easily be used as either a linked data textbook for library and information science educators or a linked data handbook for library, archive, and museum technical services...Linked Data for Libraries, Archives and Museums is definitely a book that LIS educators and library technical services and information technology professionals should put on their short list for this year’s professional reading purchases."
- Technicalities

"...an important addition to the library science canon. Many important concepts to understanding linked data are covered within and it will open your eyes to the possible challenges ahead with sharing your own data. Even if you never work on the applications or project to share data, as a data creator, it is good to keep these problems and concepts in mind as you catalog and create vocabularies."
- Online Audiovisual Catalogers

"...this book chooses a natural flow for starting to understand how linked data applies to the work of cultural institutions and the many ways their work and collections fit on the Internet. It goes beyond technical details to provide a broader historical context for linked data and its uses in libraries, archives, and museums...as a primer for understanding the wider-picture of how all these pieces sit together, it is a great resource. This book would be very suitable as a core text and jump off point in a class on linked data. Or, for that matter, as an open data course with linked data as a focal point, as I do feel it is generalized enough to be somewhat useful for those interested in enriching and linking data sets outside of a LAM setting. Finally, it is of course a good resource for working professionals who want a manageable starting point for figuring out what linked data is and how they can start incorporating it into their workflows and day-to-day efforts."
- subtxt/in

"Van Hooland and Verborgh provide an accessible and useful road map for making intelligent decisions about how to best create and publish linked data for cultural heritage collections."
- metaware.buzz

"Digitisation projects are the norm now in libraries, but are you getting the most out of the data? You may not be. This highly practical book will shed some light on how you can enrich and streamline the metadata you are creating and help ensure that our precious cultural heritage has greater exposure beyond the walls of our institutions...Some of us assume that linked data are coming, but the reality is, as this book underlines, that it is already here. If we do not make the effort to understand its theoretical concepts as it develops, we will be left in the dark, asking why we failed to make our collections and valuable data discoverable. If you are a cataloguer or similar metadata enthusiast wanting to broaden your knowledge and become more at home with linked data, then this is one book worth reading."
- Australian Library Journal

"The book is more than a simple how-to for anyone wanting to clean up and manipulate their data to make it more accessible though the explanations and concepts are invaluable. There is a real sense that the authors have engaged with the conceptual conundrums of linked data looking not only how and why but where next. There is a lot of dense detail for practitioners but the book is arranged in such a way that anyone looking for an overview will come away with a clear sense of the issues as well as the very real and huge potential of linked data."
- Alexandria

"...recommended for cultural heritage professionals who want to learn more about linked data and its application for their collections."
- Archival Issues

“... a practical look at linked data that is feasible for novice readers who want to begin working with the technologies and tools that exist to make current collections linkable in the web... It is refreshing to have a book that talks about linked data in a practical manner and pushes away from abstraction and theory.”
- Serials Review​

'Seth van Hooland and Ruben Verborgh have provided us with an excellent overview of linked data in their important work Linked Data for Libraries, Archives and Museums...an important book which will benefit all those working with metadata and interested in learning about cleaning, linking, and publishing their metadata...This handbook is a great addition to any technical services department’s reference shelf and well worth a careful consideration.'
- Patrick Lavey, Senior Cataloging Librarian, UCLA, Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Seth van Hooland is associate professor at the Information and Communication Science department of the Universite libre de Bruxelles, where he holds the chair in Digital Information. Van Hooland is also active as a consultant for clients such as the European Commission and occasionally works for leading companies in the SemanticWeb industry such as Mondeca and Poolparty. 

Ruben Verborgh is a PhDresearcher in semantic hypermedia at Multimedia Lab - Ghent University - iMinds, Belgium. As a Master in Computer Science Engineering, he closely follows and participates in the latest evolutions on the Web. He is particularly fascinated by the Semantic Web, Linked Data, Web APIs and autonomous Web agents, and has authored more than 40 papers on these topics.

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