Linked data. You may have been hearing these buzzwords floating around library land in the last year or so, or attended a conference session where it was thrown out with a mix of technical jargon as something very promising and exciting for libraries. But what is linked data exactly, and why should you be paying attention?

When you’re thinking about linked data, just imagine this simple task you probably do every day: you open a new tab in your browser, and you google something. Maybe a friend told you about a book she loved and you want to find out more. Outside of the library world (like it or not) most people’s first instinct when looking up information about a book is not to go to their local library’s website – it’s to go to their preferred search engine. Linked data makes it possible for someone in your community who googles “Harry Potter books” to see links to records and other info from your library in their search results. Excited yet? Well here’s more…

  1. Linked data brings your library out from behind the curtain.
    Most library information is considered the "deep web" because it's hidden from major search engines. Linked data uncovers that information and makes it possible for people to discover the great resources you have.
  2. Linked data brings your library to the people -- at *their* point of need.
    If someone in your community is looking for books or information that your library has, you want them to find you. With linked data, your library shows up at just the right time: when they are searching for answers.
  3. Linked data = greater ROI on your investments.
    You spend a lot of money buying books and resources; make sure they get used! Linked data will increase the usage of your collections because more people will know what’s available.
  4. Linked data works with your existing data.
    The average library has thousands of catalog records, waiting to be transformed into linked data. Turn those thousands of records into millions of connections. You don’t have to change your records at all.
  5. Linked data requires minimal staff time.
    This is a big one! Both the initial data transformation and the ongoing maintenance of records can be automated.Your staff is free to focus on their best work -- building collections and helping patrons.

Intrigued yet? Wait until you learn about the Library.Link Network, a service from Zepheira and a partnership of libraries and vendors that exposes library data to search engines so that the people in your community can discover it. NoveList’s new Linked Library Service takes that data, transforms it, and publishes it to the Library.Link Network for you, with minimal maintenance or time on your end. We’re also working on a way to enrich your valuable data with all the great stuff from NoveList you know and love -- read-alikes, appeal factors, and more.

We can’t state enough the importance of linked data to libraries, and we’re thrilled to be part of this game-changing venture bringing your library “out from behind the curtain.”