Linked Data is important for helping libraries participate in a Web-based world and provides opportunities for enriched description and relationships between resources, people and other concepts, publishing structured data in a format that major search engines can recognize. ProQuest has responded to these changes in the metadata landscape by integrating a linked data services platform into the Intota architecture. The solution is being developed to support linked data from the outset, providing libraries with a place from which to curate and publish resource metadata that will integrate into the larger Web ecosystem.
In today’s interconnected world, users expect libraries to not only effectively steward resources, but to more effectively connect resources in a way that facilitates improved access to knowledge. Current library management systems, based on the industry-specific MAC standard, make it challenging to achieve these goals. Not only is our data “locked up” in proprietary systems, in a format that doesn’t interoperate with broader Web protocols and standards, but the data is encoded in a string-based record-centric model that limits the richness that can be realized by making connections between resources, people, places, and concepts. As a result, libraries are unable to meet users where they are – on the open Web – and to support more effective models for knowledge exploration and acquisition.
Linked data is what will enable these libraries to participate in the Web-based world and contribute data that can be used to link related documents and data on the web. “Linked Data” refers to a set of best practices for publishing and connecting structured data. Its supporting technologies include URIs to enable identification of generic concepts, HTTP to allow universal retrieval of resources and descriptions and RDF, which is a generic graph-based data model with which to structure and link data that describes things in the world.1
Libraries are realizing that linked data provides opportunities for enriched description and relationships between resources, people and other concepts. They’re also realizing that these opportunities—and the improved user experience that they offer based on navigation through the web of related information—are not optional in a society that relies on search engines like Google to extract and present meaningful information at users’ points of inquiry.
Adoption of linked data in libraries follows a critical convergence in the information world – the 2011 introduction of schema.org, a joint alliance between Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo! to enable web designers to include information in their HTML pages that identifies entities and relationships among entities. OCLC Senior Research Scientist Carol Jean Godby pointed out that the fact that schema.org was built without libraries in mind acted as a catalyst for the library world. Schema.org drew attention to the need for libraries to translate MARC data into linked data.2 As a result, several library initiatives, including the Library of Congress’ BIBFRAME project and Linked Data for Libraries (LD4L), are actively exploring and implementing solutions that leverage linked data to create new bibliographic environments for libraries that makes the “network” central and interconnectedness commonplace. The Library of Congress, OCLC and other major bibliographic providers have announced that they will begin making linked data available as early as 2015.
Descriptive processes in libraries will change dramatically with the introduction of linked data. ProQuest’s decision to make linked data foundational in Intota assures libraries that we will be able to evolve along with you.
 Heath, T. (N.D.) Linked data: Connect distributed data across the web. Retrieved from http://linkeddata.org/faq
 Godby, C.J. (2013). The relationship between BIBFRAME and OCLC’s linked-data model of bibliographic description: A working paper. Retrieved from http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/publications/library/2013/2013-05.pdf