When the Library of Congress unveiled their official release of the Library of Congress Subject Headings as Linked Data in May 2009, on their Authorities and Vocabularies web site, their intent to release more data seemed clear. A year passed, however, with nothing new added to the site. Now the day has come.
Joining the LCSH as both Linked Data and as a downloadable data set are:
- Thesaurus of Graphic Materials
- MARC Code List for Relators
- Cryptographic Hash Functions
- Preservation Events
- Preservation Level Role
If a few of those have you scratching your head, you’re not alone. Cryptographic hash functions? I mean, who knew?
The publication of this data on the web in a named, linked, and structured way, can enable others to link to it from other data sets. Or it can enable placing the URI of a particular data element (such as a graphic material term) in a metadata record instead of the value itself.
What can this enable? Well, there are all kinds of suppositions about what a growing ecology of linked and linkable data will enable, but precious few working examples or — dare I say it? — “killer apps”.
With Linked Data, I think we’re still in the chicken and egg stage — you can’t do anything interesting until you have a lot of data to work with and you can’t have a lot of data to work with until people put it up as Linked Data, despite the lack of killer apps. So kudos to the Library of Congress, for putting up more data that we all can link to and use.
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