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Stanford Library Leads Collaborative Grant To Use Linked Data

Several of the Ivy League libraries and the Library of Congress are upgrading current infrastructure to use linked open data to enhance information.

Stanford Libraries has received a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation “to support library initiatives that develop and advance the use of linked open data,” according to information released by Stanford Libraries.

Stanford Libraries will lead a team representing Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton and the Library of Congress. The new grant comes after a 2014 award from the foundation to the same group to define the issues involved in libraries shifting to data standards that are compatible to the semantic web.

While the libraries all have their own advanced online systems, they require further development to keep up with the semantic web. Individual libraries have each taken steps to change their systems over the last couple of years, and the new collaboration aims to synergize their efforts. With the $1.5 million grant, the team plans to develop a distributed model based on current web architecture.

Philip Schreur, the assistant university librarian for Technical and Access Services at Stanford, said he sees the grant as an opportunity to fundamentally change how libraries interact with the web by leveraging linked data. “Much of a library’s data has been locked in historic formats that do not allow for it to be connected to the Web,” said Schreur, in a prepared statement. “Linked data uses basic web standards to publish data so it can interlinked and become discoverable on the web.”

The Mellon Foundation-funded project aims to move the libraries from using systems where library data can only be interpreted by humans to systems where data is understood by machines and linked semantically.

Stanford Libraries and Cornell Libraries are also partners for Linked Data for Libraries-Labs, a project that seeks to build linked-data-based tools. Along with the four other partners, the libraries will use the grant to take the first concrete steps to make library research data fully capable of being globally discovered on the semantic web.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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