Linking libraries to the real world
Lukas Koster and Ad Aerts
Library search systems are always used in a specific context. Library customers use traditional OPACs/catalogues and more modern discovery tools to find information about a specific subject, for a specific project or course, etc.
There are two context related problems with using traditional catalogues:
- Searches do not take into account the context and meaning of search terms, which results in a lot of ‘noise’
- Results do not present information, but only descriptions (metadata) of materials that may or may not contain the information the customer needs, without possible relations between these materials
The more modern library search and discovery tools offer some limited solutions:
- Searches can be done in a number of catalogues and databases simultaneously, giving more results
- Results can be narrowed down using explicit or implicit refining
- Results not only describe physical materials (books, articles, etc.) but also digital content that can be retrieved online
- FRBR is often used to link related editions etc. together
- Recommender systems can suggest related material that other customers have shown an interest in
But there are still some problems:
- Search context: there is still no ‘intelligent’ determination of context/meaning of ambiguous search terms
- Search context: still only databases are searched that the library provides access to
- Results context: Physical and digital material still mostly only consists of content traditionally stored and provided by libraries: books, articles, basically texts published in a formal traditional procedure
- Search/Results context: Lots of other content, data, metadata that is available on the web is not searched or found
We will not look at the search context problems, but we will focus on how to extend the results context by using linked data. We will demonstrate this by presenting the “Dutch Culture Link” proof of concept pilot project, a cooperation between the Library of the University of Amsterdam and the Theatre Institute of The Netherlands, with support from the Digital Heritage Foundation of The Netherlands.
In this project we are implementing both sides of the linked data concept: publishing and using linked data. The Theatre Institute administers databases of theater performances metadata and digital objects (sound, video, images, full text). These data are published as linked data. The Library of the University of Amsterdam Aleph OPAC retrieves extra information from the Theatre Institute performances linked data, based on the author and/or title in a bibliographic search result, only if available.
The idea is that people searching for information about theatre related subjects in a library catalogue will also be interested in related information about actual theatre performances.
We will talk about background, current implementation, choices, challenges, future plans and developments:
- URI patterns
elag2011_Koster (55,69 MB)
elag2011_Koster.m4v (42,41 MB)
Linking libraries to the real world (6,68 MB)