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.
“With this release of WorldCat Works, OCLC is creating a significant, practical contribution to the wider community discussion on how to migrate from traditional institutional library catalogues to popular Web resources and services using linked library data,” said Neil Wilson, Head of Metadata Services at the British Library. “This release provides the information community with a valuable opportunity to assess how the benefits of a works-based approach could impact a new generation of library services.”
As a worldwide library cooperative, OCLC is at the forefront of linked data activity. OCLC is designing and implementing new approaches that re-envision, expose and share WorldCat data to increase the visibility of library collections in the Web world.
The project to release WorldCat Works linked data involved OCLC Research, Data Services and Engineering staff around the world.