Position Statement

Barbara B. Tillett, Chief, Cataloging Policy and Support Office, Library of Congress


One of the building blocks of the Semantic Web will be interrelated ontologies of many types. Libraries have controlled vocabularies with relationships among the named entities that could be used as building blocks without having to re-invent their wealth of information. Controlled vocabularies contribute to precision of searching so users can find what they need collocated in displays and can be informed of related entities. Existing authority files containing these controlled vocabularies or ontologies are currently in MARC format but will soon be available in XML and/or RDF.

This takes on international interest when authority information from libraries (national bibliographic agencies) can be linked, connecting terms that are written in any script or language, enabling a user to specify his/her own preference. A proof of concept project is planned with the Library of Congress, the Deutsche Bibliothek, and OCLC.

Also see

"Authority Control on the Web," Barbara B. Tillett. In: Proceedings of the Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium : Confronting the Challenges of Networked Resources and the Web, Washington, D.C., November 15-17, 2000. Sponsored by the Library of Congress Cataloging Directorate. Edited by Ann M. Sandberg-Fox. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, 2001, p. 207-220. http://www.lcweb.loc.gov/catdir/bibcontr/tillett.html