May 26, 2020

New grant allows Stanford Libraries to continue collaborative work to improve discoverability of library resources using linked open data

Linked Data for Production

Stanford, CA — Stanford Libraries, in partnership with Cornell University and the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa, have been awarded $2,500,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue the pursuit of linked open data to dramatically improve access and discoverability of library resources.


The Linked Data for Production (LD4P) initiative is a multiyear collaborative project aiming to identify a web-friendly solution for aging workflows steeped in a technology standard developed in the 1960s. Originally designed for magnetic tape-based computers with human-readable screens, this technology solution makes it difficult both for library resources to be discovered in Web searches and for machines to interpret the data for new applications such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). 


“What the LD4P initiative is achieving is no small feat and we appreciate the investments made from the Mellon Foundation in our collaborative effort,” said Philip Schreur, associate university librarian for technical and access services at Stanford. “The partnership with Cornell and Iowa has been tremendously beneficial as each of us bring unique perspectives as we work toward achieving our goals of making library resources more accessible beyond a library’s catalog, enhancing library-based discovery with related information from the wider Web, and creating new knowledge from existing but previously unlinked data.”


The new round of funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will launch Phase 3 of the project and builds upon the cohort program established in Phase 2.  A hosted cataloging environment was developed in Phase 2 and 17 libraries were invited to create linked data descriptions of resources without having to set up and maintain tools locally.  In addition to the expansion and refinement of a cataloging environment, Phase 3 will also focus on shifting toward more sustainable models, for example,  by expanding the participation industry partners such as OCLC, SHARE-VDE, and the Wikidata communities.  


"We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue this productive partnership," said Simeon Warner, associate university librarian for IT at Cornell. "Together, we are advancing open-source tooling for the community that enables better linking of library catalog data, and that leverages the enriched linked data to improve discovery."