Archive for the ‘OCLC’ Category

“No Sir, Mayor Daley no longer dines here. He’s dead sir.” The Limits of Linked Data

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

That line from the Blues Brothers came to mind when I read OCLC to launch linked data pilot with seven leading libraries, which reads in part:

DUBLIN, Ohio, 11 September 2015OCLC is working with seven leading libraries in a pilot program designed to learn more about how linked data will influence library workflows in the future.

The Person Entity Lookup pilot will help library professionals reduce redundant data by linking related sets of person identifiers and authorities. Pilot participants will be able to surface WorldCat Person entities, including 109 million brief descriptions of authors, directors, musicians and others that have been mined from WorldCat, the world’s largest resource of library metadata.

By submitting one of a number of identifiers, such as VIAF, ISNI and LCNAF, the pilot service will respond with a WorldCat Person identifier and mappings to additional identifiers for the same person.

The pilot will begin in September and is expected to last several months. The seven participating libraries include Cornell University, Harvard University, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, the National Library of Poland, Stanford University and the University of California, Davis.

If you happen to use one of the known identifiers and like Mayor Daley, your subject is one of the 109 million authors, directors, musicians, etc., and you are at one of these seven participants, your in luck!

If your subject is one of the 253 million vehicles on U.S. roads, or one of the 123.4 million people employed full time in the U.S., or one or more of the 73.9 billion credit card transactions in 2012, or one of the 3 billion cellphone calls made every day in the U.S., then linked data and the OCLC pilot project will leave you high and dry. (Feel free to add in subjects of interest to you that aren’t captured by linked data.)

It’s not a bad pilot project but it does serve to highlight the primary weakness of linked data: It doesn’t include any subjects of interest to you.

You want to talk about your employees, your products, your investments, your trades, etc.

That’s understandable. That will drive your ROI from semantic technologies.

OCLC linked data can help you with dead people and some famous ones, but that doesn’t begin to satisfy your needs.

What you need is a semantic technology that puts the fewest constraints on you and at the same time enables to talk about your subjects, using your terms.


OCLC releases WorldCat Works as linked data

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

OCLC releases WorldCat Works as linked data

From the press release:

OCLC has made 197 million bibliographic work descriptions—WorldCat Works—available as linked data, a format native to the Web that will improve discovery of library collections through a variety of popular sites and Web services.

Release of this data marks another step toward providing interconnected linked data views of WorldCat. By making this linked data available, library collections can be exposed to the wider Web community, integrating these collections and making them more easily discoverable through websites and services that library users visit daily, such as Google, Wikipedia and social networks.

“Bibliographic data stored in traditional record formats has reached its limits of efficiency and utility,” said Richard Wallis, OCLC Technology Evangelist. “New technologies, influenced by the Web, now enable us to move toward managing WorldCat data as entities—such as ‘Works,’ ‘People,’ ‘Places’ and more—as part of the global Web of data.”

OCLC has created authoritative work descriptions for bibliographic resources found in WorldCat, bringing together multiple manifestations of a work into one logical authoritative entity. The release of “WorldCat Works” is the first step in providing linked data views of rich WorldCat entities. Other WorldCat descriptive entities will be created and released over time.

If you are looking for a smallish set of entity identifiers, this is a good start on bibliographic materials.

I say smallish because as of 2009, there were 672 million assigned phone numbers in the United States (Numbering Resource Utilization in the United States).

Each of those phone numbers has the potential to identify some subject. The assigned number if nothing else. Although other uses suggest themselves.

OCLC Preview 194 Million…

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

OCLC Preview 194 Million Open Bibliographic Work Descriptions by Richard Wallis.

From the post:

I have just been sharing a platform, at the OCLC EMEA Regional Council Meeting in Cape Town South Africa, with my colleague Ted Fons. A great setting for a great couple of days of the OCLC EMEA membership and others sharing thoughts, practices, collaborative ideas and innovations.

Ted and I presented our continuing insight into The Power of Shared Data, and the evolving data strategy for the bibliographic data behind WorldCat. If you want to see a previous view of these themes you can check out some recordings we made late last year on YouTube, from Ted – The Power of Shared Data – and me – What the Web Wants.

Today, demonstrating on-going progress towards implementing the strategy, I had the pleasure to preview two upcoming significant announcements on the WorldCat data front:

  1. The release of 194 Million Linked Data Bibliographic Work descriptions
  2. The WorldCat Linked Data Explorer interface

A preview release to be sure but one worth following!

Particularly with 194 million bibliographic work descriptions!

See Ralph’s post for the details.

mapFAST Mobile

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Explore the world: find books or other library materials about places with mapFAST Mobile

From the post:

The new mapFAST Mobile lets you search from your smartphone or mobile browser for materials related to any location and find them in the nearest library.

Available on the web and now as an Android app in the Google Play store, mapFAST is a Google Maps mashup that allows users to identify a point of interest and see surrounding locations or events using mapFAST’s Google Maps display with nearby FAST geographic headings (including location-based events), then jump to, the world’s largest library catalog, to find specific items and the nearest holding library. provides a variety of “facets” allowing users to narrow a search by type of item, year of publication, language and more.

“Libraries hold and provide access to a wide variety of information resources related to geographic locations,” said Rick Bennett, OCLC Consulting Software Engineer and lead developer on the project. “When looking for information about a particular place, it’s often useful to investigate nearby locations as well. mapFAST’s Google Maps interface allows for easy selection of the location, with a link to enter a search directly into”

With mapFAST Mobile, smartphone and mobile browser users can do a search based on their current location, or an entered search. The user’s location or search provides a center for the map, and nearby FAST subject headings are added as location pins. A “Search WorldCat” link then connects users to a list of records for materials about that location in

This sounds cool enough to almost temp me into getting a cell phone. 😉

I haven’t seen the app but if it works as advertised, this could be the first step in a come back by libraries.

Very cool!

Downloadable Version of FAST Now Available

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Downloadable Version of FAST Now Available

Just in case you are in need of “an enumerative, faceted subject heading schema derived from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH).”

Thought that would get your attention. Details from the announcement follow:

OCLC Research has made FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) available for bulk download, along with some minor improvements based on user feedback and routine updates. As with other FAST data, the bulk downloadable versions are available at no charge.

FAST is an enumerative, faceted subject heading schema derived from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). OCLC made FAST available as Linked Open Data in December 2011.

The bulk downloadable versions of FAST are offered at no charge. Like FAST content available through the FAST Experimental Linked Data Service, the downloadable versions of FAST are made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution (ODC-By) license.

FAST may be downloaded in either SKOS/RDF format or MARC XML (Authorities format). Users may download the entire FAST file including all eight facets (Personal Names, Corporate Names, Event, Uniform Titles, Chronological, Topical, Geographic, Form/Genre) or choose to download individual facets (see the download information page for more details).

OCLC has enhanced the VoID (“Vocabulary of Interlinked Datasets”) dataset description for improved ease of processing of the license references. Several additions and changes to FAST headings have been made in the normal course of processing new and changed headings in LCSH. OCLC will continue to periodically update FAST based on new and changed headings in LCSH.

About FAST

The FAST authority file, which underlies the FAST Linked Data release, has been created through a multi-year collaboration of OCLC Research and the Library of Congress. Specifically, it is designed to make the rich LCSH vocabulary available as a post-coordinate system in a Web environment. For more information, see the FAST activity page.