DCMI Global Meetings & Conferences, DCMI-UK Seminar: Five Years On

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From Tags to Triples: The British National Bibliography as Linked Open Data
Alan Danskin

Last modified: 2012-05-01


Much has been written about linked and open data’s potential. The BL aimed to advance debate from theory to practice via release of a ‘critical mass’ of core data offering the greatest possibilities for wider community experimentation and innovative application. The British National Bibliography (BNB) was chosen over specialist datasets since its scope and scale matched the requirement while underlining the BL’s commitment to serious exploration of the issues.

The BL was interested in the organisational development possibilities of utilising: internal staff, existing tools and legacy MARC data to create its own linked open data offering. One key objective was to rethink old service approaches; blending the best with ideas from new communities using the metadata.

The British Library and Talis collaborated to develop a model and develop the technical infrastructure The BNB was released as Linked Open Data in July 2011. Since being launched the Linked Open BNB has grown to cover nearly 3 million publications issued since 1950. The fact the system was soon processing over 2 million transactions per month suggests that authoritative sites offering useful data will be used. Similarly, effort put in to remodelling traditional library data was well received by the wider community and has helped advance discussions as hoped. Lessons learned included the value of exploiting external expertise to guide library specialists together with the benefits of offering sample data for wider community feedback and continual improvement.

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