ACAT linked data question

On 2/24/2015 4:26 PM, Williams, Ann wrote:
> I was just wondering how linked data will affect OPAC searching and discovery vs. a record with text approach. For example, we have various 856 links to publisher, summary and biographical information in our OPAC as well as ISBNs linking to ContentCafe. But none of that content is discoverable in the OPAC and it requires a further click on the part of patrons (many of whom won’t click).

People would immediately be able to see the difference in the linked data universe with those 856 links. In this case, the information at the end of the links will be able to display in your catalog without the need to click on them, *and* without the need of copying it all into your records. So, the publishers could change the information, update and so on, and you wouldn’t have to do anything for your users to benefit from their work.

As an example, see this record in the LC catalog: Right now, there are 856 links that you have to click on to see some biographical info and the publisher’s blurb and as you point out, nobody does that. In a linked data universe, it will display in any way you want: just in the page, or it can appear only when you run the mouse over a special area of the window; it might appear in one of those horrible pop-up windows that have become the bane of the web, or it could all be in blood-red 24 point font–whatever you want.

And the information will *not* be in the catalog, the catalog will have only the link and the information will exist elsewhere. Right now, the information is on LC’s servers (in the enhancements folder but this information can be anywhere.

When you begin to imagine new possibilities, all kinds of links can be used. For instance, what would people prefer? The link to the biography supplied by the publisher, which is pretty sparse: “Ted Jones is a writer and journalist who specializes in Travel and the Arts. He is the author of The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers. He currently resides in_the South of France.” (, or would they prefer a link to the author’s personal website: And if this website were coded correctly for linked data (it is easier to do this now than ever before), so many things can be done that it becomes difficult to even imagine the possibilities.

How will this affect OPAC searching, discovery and display? Nobody knows. Lots of people have their own ideas–me too–but nobody knows what will actually happen. I bet that most of it will be decided on by non-catalogers, and very possibly by non-librarians.

There definitely are great possibilities with linked data, but there are some very definite downsides as well, plus complexities will arise that catalogers have never really had to deal with before.

That is another discussion though!

James Weinheimer
First Thus
First Thus Facebook Page
Personal Facebook Page Google+
Cooperative Cataloging Rules
Cataloging Matters Podcasts The Library Herald