Linked data: Think of it like the OCLC Worldcat website. If a user searches it for a book, it will return the book information as well as every single library in the whole country who has that book. That is only if the library subscribes to the OCLC club thus users will only know about those showing. They won’t realize why some show and don’t show. How about other items – archival or digital items at universities?
Now imagine not having to subscribe to or having to enter data into OCLC for the world to know you have that book. Nor would you have to export or enter the book data into your local ILS. If we are linked to other sources that already have that book via online linked data, or the “Semantic Web,” we could enter a unique resource identifier (URI) of our object-in-hand (ISBN, DOI, URL, etc.) and the item information would automatically pull from another source linked to ours (could be OCLC, could be another library with that same item).
This could be easily worked right now for books with the right programming but the powers-that-be are thinking a little more big picture. OCLC and most local ILS systems are entering data in MaRC format and AACR2/RDA standards which is a bit too rigid to describe items that are not books. Enter BIBFRAME format with RDF standards for tools with elements thought to be able to describe the most object types. Nice in theory but this would mean major effort on the parts of all libraries to learn a new format and standard.
In her article, Gonzales (2014) states that libraries should jump on board not only to have items more findable by users but “in turn bring those users back to the library through the lure of authoritative, high-quality resources (p. 12). Recommendations for a successful transition from local library silo to the world including incorporating linked open data using RDF formatting in current catalogs and other online resources, and being consistent with linking to external URIs and internal holdings (p. 18). Chudnov claims that a major sign of linked data progress will be when “the big national hubs add reciprocal links back out to smaller hub sites.” (as cited in Gonzales, 2014, p. 18).
Library software give search results in sometimes cumbersome ways and are compartmentalized into archives, journals, books, digital repositories, etc. An ability for a user to type in “Martin Luther King Jr. clothing march” in a search and it result in not only books in a catalog but results across all resource types and all linked libraries around the world would showcase libraries as indeed wanting to share their resources instead of having so many hurdles to jump through for an average user.