Since the 1960s academic libraries have been using their own standards for the communication of metadata about resources in their catalogs. Determined to take advantage of the semantic web, Stanford Libraries is working with the libraries of Cornell, Harvard and the University of Iowa to continue the development of a “linked data” metadata environment. This interesting topic came to us from Campus Technology in their article, “Universities Working to Make Library Metadata Searchable on the Web.”

Originally designed for magnetic tape-based computers, machine-readable cataloging (MARC) standards are only understood by library systems. Failure to speak the language of the web has isolated libraries from the broader world of information developing online.

When a company like Google gets that data, it is an incomprehensible mass of free text. These universities are trying to shift to linked data so well-articulated identifiers can be used for things like people, subjects or dates. Then when people search for something on the web, they can actually identify what all those bits of data are and make the results much cleaner.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.