One of the most interesting programs at ALA Annual that I was involved with was the Linked Data grassroots program. Here’s the blurb:
From Legacy Data to Linked Data: Preparing Libraries for Web 3.0. “How can library cataloging data be transformed to function within ‘Web 3.0′ and be understood by non-library web applications? Speakers from both the library and Semantic Web communities will explore the situation in a non-technical manner and describe current work underway to transform legacy library data into linked data.“
The speakers were: Eric Miller (President, Zepheira, Inc.), me, Jennifer Bowen (Co-Principal Investigator, eXtensible Catalog Project, University of Rochester), Rebecca Guenther (Senior Networking and Standards Specialist, Network Development & MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress). Corey Harper of NYU introduced the speakers and fielded questions at the end. Because this was a Grassroots program, attempting to make a place for emerging trends in what is often a program consisting primarily of the hot issues of a year or two ago, all the approved programs got small rooms. The one we ended up in seated about 75, and we filled the floors, the aisles and much of the hallway outside the room. The room was in the Hilton, not easy to find, so it was gratifying how many people made the effort.
American Libraries reported on the program, and from the comments I’ve received it was a successful session and has generated interest in further programming on the subject for next year (and we are actually talking about doing that). In my presentation, I made the case for the readiness of libraries for the challenges of linked data, citing the work done with the RDA vocabularies as foundational to that claim. I admit that although there was a part of that claim that was, if not actually wishful thinking, at least a rhetorical device, clearly we are at some kind of tipping point (or approaching it pretty quickly). Every six months when I talk to people at ALA extensively about this stuff, or when I’m out “on the road” talking to colleagues, there is more excitement and more interest on the part of librarians, who are definitely “getting it.”
Presentations are available on the ALA Wiki.