August 15, 2022

LC Releases More Linked Data

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.

P.S. Welcome to WordPress! :-)

Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.


  1. More linked data from Library of Congress? Very Good.

    Tennant: Digital Libraries as a WordPress blog? Also “Very Good.”

    Congratulations and kudos to both!

  2. Ginny Martin says:

    I would be interested in hearing more specifics about what “killer apps” are needed? Maybe I can work on something. I have an MLS, library experience long ago, and a long career as a software engineer. I’m trying to get back into the library field.


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