Difference between revisions of "Benefits"

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("Library Linked Data": Scope of this report)
("Library Linked Data": Scope of this report)
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'''Library'''. The word "library" (analogously to "archive" and "museum") refers to three distinct but related concepts: a collection of physical or abstract (potentially including “digital”) objects, a place where the collection is located, and an agent which curates the collection and administers the location. Collections may be public or private, large or small, and are not limited to any particular types of resources.
 
'''Library'''. The word "library" (analogously to "archive" and "museum") refers to three distinct but related concepts: a collection of physical or abstract (potentially including “digital”) objects, a place where the collection is located, and an agent which curates the collection and administers the location. Collections may be public or private, large or small, and are not limited to any particular types of resources.
  
'''Library data'''.  "Library data" refers to any type of digital information produced or curated by libraries that describes resources or aids their discovery.  Data used primarily for library-management purposes is generally out of scope. As discussed in more detail below, this report pragmatically distinguishes three types of library data based on their typical use: '''datasets''', '''element sets''', and '''value vocabularies'''.   
+
'''Library data'''.  "Library data" refers to any type of digital information produced or curated by libraries that describes resources or aids their discovery.  Data used primarily for library-management purposes or covered by library privacy policies is generally out of scope. This report pragmatically distinguishes three types of library data based on their typical use: '''datasets''', '''element sets''', and '''value vocabularies'''.   
  
 
'''Linked Data'''.  "Linked Data" (LD) refers to data published in accordance with [http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkedData.html principles] designed to facilitate linkages among datasets, element sets, and value vocabularies.  Linked Data uses Web addresses (URIs) as globally unique identifiers for dataset items, elements, and value concepts, analogously to the library world's identifiers for authority control.  Linked Data defines relationships between things; these relationships can be used for navigating between, or integrating, various sources of information.
 
'''Linked Data'''.  "Linked Data" (LD) refers to data published in accordance with [http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkedData.html principles] designed to facilitate linkages among datasets, element sets, and value vocabularies.  Linked Data uses Web addresses (URIs) as globally unique identifiers for dataset items, elements, and value concepts, analogously to the library world's identifiers for authority control.  Linked Data defines relationships between things; these relationships can be used for navigating between, or integrating, various sources of information.
  
'''Library Linked Data'''.  "Library Linked Data" (LLD) is any type of library data that is expressed as Linked Data.
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'''Library Linked Data'''.  "Library Linked Data" (LLD) is any type of Library Data (as defined above) that is expressed as Linked Data.  Note that Linked Data technology per se does not require data to be "open" -- i.e., publicly available under a license that permits free use -- though the potential of the technology is best realized when data is published as Linked Open Data (LOD).
  
 
== Benefits of the Linked Data approach ==
 
== Benefits of the Linked Data approach ==
  
The Linked Data approach offers significant advantages over current practices for creating and delivering library data while providing a natural extension to the collaborative sharing models historically employed by libraries, archives, and museums ("memory institutions"). Linked data is '''sharable,''' '''extensible,''' and easily '''re-usable.''' It provides '''internationalization''' facilities (e.g. Unicode support) for data and user services. These characteristics are inherent in the linked data standards and are supported by the use of web-friendly identifiers for data and concepts. Resources can be described in collaboration with other libraries, and linked to data contributed by other communities or even individuals. Like the linking that takes place today between web documents, linked data allows anyone to contribute their unique expertise so that it can be reused and recombined with the expertise of others.  The use of identifiers ensures that the diverse descriptions are all talking about the same thing.  Through rich linkages with complementary data from trusted sources, libraries can increase the value of their own data beyond the sum of its sources taken individually, as in the story of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_soup stone soup], where the hungry travellers' boiling a pot of stones attracted from the locals enough curiosity, and small contributions of herbs and carrots, to create a nourishing meal.
+
The Linked Data approach offers significant advantages over current practices for creating and delivering library data while providing a natural extension to the collaborative sharing models historically employed by libraries, archives, and museums ("memory institutions"). Linked data is '''sharable,''' '''extensible,''' and easily '''re-usable.''' It provides multilingual facilities (e.g. multilingual labeling of concepts identified by a language-agnostic URI) for data and user services. These characteristics are inherent in the linked data standards and are supported by the use of web-friendly identifiers for data and concepts. Resources can be described in collaboration with other libraries and linked to data contributed by other communities or even individuals. Like the linking that takes place today between web documents, linked data allows anyone to contribute unique expertise in a form that can be reused and recombined with the expertise of others.  The use of identifiers ensures that diverse descriptions all refer to the same thing.  Through rich linkages with complementary data from trusted sources, libraries can increase the value of their own data beyond the sum of their sources taken individually.
  
By using globally unique identifiers to designate works, places, people, events, subjects, and other objects or concepts of interest, memory institutions can make trusted metadata descriptions available for common use, allowing resources to be cited across a broad range of data sources. An important aspect of the identifier system is its use of the Domain Name System of the Web. This assures stability and trust in a regulated and well-understood ownership and maintenance context. This is fully compatible with the long-term mandate of memory institutions.  Libraries, and memory institutions generally, are thus in a unique position to provide the metadata for resources of long-term cultural importance as data on the Web.   
+
By using globally unique identifiers to designate works, places, people, events, subjects, and other objects or concepts of interest, memory institutions allow resources to be cited across a broad range of data sources and thus make their metadata descriptions more richly accessible. The Web's Domain Name System assures stability and trust by putting these identifiers into a regulated and well-understood ownership and maintenance context. This is fully compatible with the long-term mandate of memory institutions.  Libraries, and memory institutions generally, are in a unique position to provide trusted metadata for resources of long-term cultural importance as data on the Web.   
  
 
Library authority data for names and subjects will help reduce redundancy of bibliographic descriptions on the Web by clearly identifying key entities that are shared across linked data. This will also aid in the reduction of redundancy of metadata representing library holdings.
 
Library authority data for names and subjects will help reduce redundancy of bibliographic descriptions on the Web by clearly identifying key entities that are shared across linked data. This will also aid in the reduction of redundancy of metadata representing library holdings.
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=== Benefits to Researchers, Students and Patrons ===
 
=== Benefits to Researchers, Students and Patrons ===
  
Users of library and cultural institution services may not be immediately aware that linked data is being employed. Although the changes that occur will be "under the hood," the underlying structured data will become more richly linked and the user experience will provide greater discovery and use capabilities.  The resulting data network will result in more sophisticated discovery and navigation across library and non-library information resources. Links can be used to expand indexes much easier than required for today's federated searching, and can offer users a nearly unlimited number of pathways for browsing.  
+
It may not be obvious to users of library and cultural institution services when linked data is being employed because the changes will lie "under the hood".  As the underlying structured data becomes more richly linked, however, the user may notice improved capabilities for discovering and using dataNavigation across library and non-library information resources will become more sophisticated. Federated searches will improve through the use of links to expand indexes, and users will have a richer set of pathways for browsing.  
  
Library users should be comfortable with the basic concepts of linked data since it uses HTTP, the Web's standard retrieval protocol. Applications may allow users to "follow their nose" (i.e., resolve trails of URI links) to the data itselfOnce retrieved, the recombinational nature of RDF will allow information seekers to extract the parts of the data they need and understand, re-mix as required, or even to add their own annotations as contributions to the global graph. These capabilities meet expectations for an interactive user experience, such as is found in social networking applications.
+
Linked Data builds on the Web's defining feature: browsable links (URIs) spanning a seamless information space. Just as the totality of Web pages and websites is available as a whole to users and applications, the totality of datasets using RDF and URIs presents itself as a global information graph that users and applications can seamlessly browse by resolving trails of URI links ("following one's nose").  The value of Linked Data for library users derives from these basic navigation principles.  Links between libraries and non-library services such as Wikipedia, Geonames, and Musicbrainz will connect local collections into the larger universe of information on the Web.
  
Relationships to and from non-library services such as Wikipedia, Geonames, and Musicbrainz will help connect local collections into the larger universe of information available on the Web.  The rise of semantics in HTML, which plays a role in the crawling and relevancy algorithms of Google, Google Scholar, and Facebook, will provide a way for libraries to enhance their visibility through search engine optimization (SEO), allowing resources to be discovered from Websites they use routinely. Citation management can be made as simple as cutting and pasting URLs. Embedding structured data in Web pages using, for example, RDFa markup in HTML pages, will also facilitate re-use of library data in services to information seekers. Automating the retrieval of citations from linked data or creating links from Web resources to library resources will mean that library data is fully integrated into research documents and bibliographies. Linked data will favor interdisciplinarity in research, by enriching knowledge through linking among several domain specific knowledge bases.
+
Moreover, Linked Data is not about creating a different Web, but rather about enhancing the Web through the addition of structured data. This structured data, expressed using technologies such as RDFa and microdata, plays a role in the crawling and relevancy algorithms of Google, Google Scholar, and Facebook, and will provide a way for libraries to enhance their visibility through search engine optimization (SEO). Structured data embedded in HTML pages will also facilitate the re-use of library data in services to information seekers : citation management can be made as simple as cutting and pasting URIs. Automating the retrieval of citations from linked data or creating links from Web resources to library resources will mean that library data is fully integrated into research documents and bibliographies. Linked data will favor interdisciplinarity in research, by enriching knowledge through linking among several domain specific knowledge bases.  
 +
 
 +
Migrating the Library Data to Linked Data is only the first stage, since the dataset used for experiments reported in a paper and the model used by the authors to process the data can also be published as Linked Data. With the paper, dataset and model all represented using appropriate vocabuary and formalisms, researchers can replicate the experiment conducted by the authors of the paper, as well as utilise the dataset with different models and purposes. If this practice is adopted, research rigor will accelerate, and overall assessment of research reports outlined in the papers will be transparent, and can be validated by peers.
 +
(See for instance the [http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/lld/wiki/Use_Case_Enhanced_Publications Enhanced Publications use case].)
  
 
=== Benefits to Organizations ===
 
=== Benefits to Organizations ===
By promoting a bottom-up approach to publishing data, Linked Data creates an opportunity for cultural organizations (including libraries) to improve the value proposition of describing their assets.
+
By promoting a bottom-up approach to publishing data, Linked Data creates an opportunity for cultural organizations (including libraries) to improve the value proposition of describing their assets. The top down approach of library data, i.e. producing MARC records as stand alone descriptions for library material, has been enforced by budget limits: libraries don't have the resources needed to produce the granularity of information that would benefit their users. With Linked Data, different kinds of data about the same asset can be produced in a decentralized way by different actors, and then be re-aggregated as a single graph of information.
  
 
The technology itself can help organizations improve their internal data curation processes and maintain better links between, for instance, digitized objects and their descriptions, and improve data publishing processes within the organization, even in a context where all the data isn’t necessarily open. Cultural organizations will be able to make use of mainstream technologies to manage their data. Today's library technology is specific to library data formats, leading to the existence of a special Integrated Library Systems industry specific to libraries.  Library system vendors will benefit from the adoption of mainstream technology as it will give them an opportunity to broaden their user base. The fact of not being tied to the library-specific data formats will be a benefit to developers.
 
The technology itself can help organizations improve their internal data curation processes and maintain better links between, for instance, digitized objects and their descriptions, and improve data publishing processes within the organization, even in a context where all the data isn’t necessarily open. Cultural organizations will be able to make use of mainstream technologies to manage their data. Today's library technology is specific to library data formats, leading to the existence of a special Integrated Library Systems industry specific to libraries.  Library system vendors will benefit from the adoption of mainstream technology as it will give them an opportunity to broaden their user base. The fact of not being tied to the library-specific data formats will be a benefit to developers.
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Linked Data may be a first step toward an "in the cloud" approach to managing cultural information -- one which will be more cost-effective than individual systems in institutions.  This approach will make it possible for small institutions or individual projects to be visible and connected, with reduced infrastructure costs.
 
Linked Data may be a first step toward an "in the cloud" approach to managing cultural information -- one which will be more cost-effective than individual systems in institutions.  This approach will make it possible for small institutions or individual projects to be visible and connected, with reduced infrastructure costs.
  
Moreover, in an open data context, these institutions will gain greater visibility on the Web, which is where most information seekers may be found. The focus on identifiers allows descriptions to be tailored to specific communities such as museums, archives, galleries, and audiovisual archives. The openness of data is more an opportunity than a threat.  One benefit may be a clarification of the licensing of descriptive metadata towards openness, thus facilitating the reusing and sharing of data and improving institutional visibility. Data thus exposed will be put to unexpected uses, as in the adage: “The best thing to do to your data will be thought of by somebody else.”
+
Moreover, in an open data context, these institutions will gain greater visibility on the Web, which is where most information seekers may be found. The focus on identifiers allows descriptions to be tailored to specific communities such as museums, archives, galleries, and audiovisual archives. The openness of data is more an opportunity than a threat.  Clarification of the licensing conditions of descriptive metadata facilitates its reuse and improves institutional visibility. Data thus exposed will be put to unexpected uses, as in the adage: “The best thing to do to your data will be thought of by somebody else.”
  
 
=== Benefits to Librarians, Archivists and Curators ===
 
=== Benefits to Librarians, Archivists and Curators ===
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The benefits to Patrons and Organizations will also have a direct impact on library and memory-institution professionals. By using Linked Data, memory institutions will create an open, global pool of shared data that can be used and re-used to describe resources, with a limited amount of redundant effort compared with current cataloguing processes.
 
The benefits to Patrons and Organizations will also have a direct impact on library and memory-institution professionals. By using Linked Data, memory institutions will create an open, global pool of shared data that can be used and re-used to describe resources, with a limited amount of redundant effort compared with current cataloguing processes.
  
The use of the Web and Web-based identifiers will make resources immediately available, up-to-date, for cataloguers to re-use. They will be able to pull together descriptions for resources outside their domain environment, across all cultural heritage datasets, and even the web at large. They will be able to concentrate their effort on their domain of local expertise, rather than having to re-create existing descriptions that have been already elaborated by others.
+
The use of the Web and Web-based identifiers will make up-to-date resource descriptions directly citable by cataloguers. The use of shared identifiers will allow them to pull together descriptions for resources outside their domain environment, across all cultural heritage datasets, and even the web at large. They will be able to concentrate their effort on their domain of local expertise, rather than having to re-create existing descriptions that have been already elaborated by others.
 +
 
 +
History shows that all technologies are transitory, and the history of information technology suggests that specific data formats are especially short-lived.  By making a clean distinction between the meaning of data ("semantics") and specific data structures ("syntax" or "formats"), Linked Data will lead to the creation of better, more durable descriptive standards.
  
=== Benefits to Developers ===  
+
=== Benefits to Developers and Vendors ===  
  
Library developers will directly benefit from the fact of not being tied to the library-specific data formats, as emphasized regarding benefits to organizations. Linked Data methods support the retrieval and re-mixing of data in a way that is consistent across all metadata providers. Instead of requiring data to be accessed using library-centric protocols such as Z39.50, linked data uses well-known standard Web protocols like HTTP. Developers will also no longer have to work with library-specific data formats such as MARC, which require custom software tools and applications. Linked Data methods involve pushing data onto the Web in a form that is understandable to Web applications. By leveraging RDF and HTTP, library developers are freed from the need to use domain-specific software, opening a growing range of generic tools, much of which are open-source. Thus they will find it much easier to build new services on top of their data. This also opens up a much larger developer community to provide support to IT professional in libraries. In a sea of RDF triples, no developer is an island.
+
Library developers and vendors will directly benefit from not being tied to library-specific data formats. Linked Data methods support the retrieval and re-mixing of data in a way that is consistent across all metadata providers. Instead of requiring data to be accessed using library-centric protocols (e.g., Z39.50), linked data uses well-known standard Web protocols (e.g., HTTP). Developers will also no longer have to work with library-specific data formats such as MARC, which require custom software tools and applications. Linked Data methods involve pushing data onto the Web in a form that is understandable to Web applications. Library vendors that support Linked Data will be able to market their products outside of the library world, while vendors outside the library world may be able to adapt their more generic products to the specific requirements of libraries.  By leveraging RDF and HTTP, library developers are freed from the need to use domain-specific software, opening a growing range of generic tools, much of which are open-source. Thus they will find it much easier to build new services on top of their data. This also opens up a much larger developer community to provide support to IT professional in libraries. In a sea of RDF triples, no developer is an island.

Revision as of 21:03, 10 August 2011

"Library Linked Data": Scope of this report

The scope of this report -- "library linked data" -- can be understood as follows:

Library. The word "library" (analogously to "archive" and "museum") refers to three distinct but related concepts: a collection of physical or abstract (potentially including “digital”) objects, a place where the collection is located, and an agent which curates the collection and administers the location. Collections may be public or private, large or small, and are not limited to any particular types of resources.

Library data. "Library data" refers to any type of digital information produced or curated by libraries that describes resources or aids their discovery. Data used primarily for library-management purposes or covered by library privacy policies is generally out of scope. This report pragmatically distinguishes three types of library data based on their typical use: datasets, element sets, and value vocabularies.

Linked Data. "Linked Data" (LD) refers to data published in accordance with principles designed to facilitate linkages among datasets, element sets, and value vocabularies. Linked Data uses Web addresses (URIs) as globally unique identifiers for dataset items, elements, and value concepts, analogously to the library world's identifiers for authority control. Linked Data defines relationships between things; these relationships can be used for navigating between, or integrating, various sources of information.

Library Linked Data. "Library Linked Data" (LLD) is any type of Library Data (as defined above) that is expressed as Linked Data. Note that Linked Data technology per se does not require data to be "open" -- i.e., publicly available under a license that permits free use -- though the potential of the technology is best realized when data is published as Linked Open Data (LOD).

Benefits of the Linked Data approach

The Linked Data approach offers significant advantages over current practices for creating and delivering library data while providing a natural extension to the collaborative sharing models historically employed by libraries, archives, and museums ("memory institutions"). Linked data is sharable, extensible, and easily re-usable. It provides multilingual facilities (e.g. multilingual labeling of concepts identified by a language-agnostic URI) for data and user services. These characteristics are inherent in the linked data standards and are supported by the use of web-friendly identifiers for data and concepts. Resources can be described in collaboration with other libraries and linked to data contributed by other communities or even individuals. Like the linking that takes place today between web documents, linked data allows anyone to contribute unique expertise in a form that can be reused and recombined with the expertise of others. The use of identifiers ensures that diverse descriptions all refer to the same thing. Through rich linkages with complementary data from trusted sources, libraries can increase the value of their own data beyond the sum of their sources taken individually.

By using globally unique identifiers to designate works, places, people, events, subjects, and other objects or concepts of interest, memory institutions allow resources to be cited across a broad range of data sources and thus make their metadata descriptions more richly accessible. The Web's Domain Name System assures stability and trust by putting these identifiers into a regulated and well-understood ownership and maintenance context. This is fully compatible with the long-term mandate of memory institutions. Libraries, and memory institutions generally, are in a unique position to provide trusted metadata for resources of long-term cultural importance as data on the Web.

Library authority data for names and subjects will help reduce redundancy of bibliographic descriptions on the Web by clearly identifying key entities that are shared across linked data. This will also aid in the reduction of redundancy of metadata representing library holdings.

Benefits to Researchers, Students and Patrons

It may not be obvious to users of library and cultural institution services when linked data is being employed because the changes will lie "under the hood". As the underlying structured data becomes more richly linked, however, the user may notice improved capabilities for discovering and using data. Navigation across library and non-library information resources will become more sophisticated. Federated searches will improve through the use of links to expand indexes, and users will have a richer set of pathways for browsing.

Linked Data builds on the Web's defining feature: browsable links (URIs) spanning a seamless information space. Just as the totality of Web pages and websites is available as a whole to users and applications, the totality of datasets using RDF and URIs presents itself as a global information graph that users and applications can seamlessly browse by resolving trails of URI links ("following one's nose"). The value of Linked Data for library users derives from these basic navigation principles. Links between libraries and non-library services such as Wikipedia, Geonames, and Musicbrainz will connect local collections into the larger universe of information on the Web.

Moreover, Linked Data is not about creating a different Web, but rather about enhancing the Web through the addition of structured data. This structured data, expressed using technologies such as RDFa and microdata, plays a role in the crawling and relevancy algorithms of Google, Google Scholar, and Facebook, and will provide a way for libraries to enhance their visibility through search engine optimization (SEO). Structured data embedded in HTML pages will also facilitate the re-use of library data in services to information seekers : citation management can be made as simple as cutting and pasting URIs. Automating the retrieval of citations from linked data or creating links from Web resources to library resources will mean that library data is fully integrated into research documents and bibliographies. Linked data will favor interdisciplinarity in research, by enriching knowledge through linking among several domain specific knowledge bases.

Migrating the Library Data to Linked Data is only the first stage, since the dataset used for experiments reported in a paper and the model used by the authors to process the data can also be published as Linked Data. With the paper, dataset and model all represented using appropriate vocabuary and formalisms, researchers can replicate the experiment conducted by the authors of the paper, as well as utilise the dataset with different models and purposes. If this practice is adopted, research rigor will accelerate, and overall assessment of research reports outlined in the papers will be transparent, and can be validated by peers. (See for instance the Enhanced Publications use case.)

Benefits to Organizations

By promoting a bottom-up approach to publishing data, Linked Data creates an opportunity for cultural organizations (including libraries) to improve the value proposition of describing their assets. The top down approach of library data, i.e. producing MARC records as stand alone descriptions for library material, has been enforced by budget limits: libraries don't have the resources needed to produce the granularity of information that would benefit their users. With Linked Data, different kinds of data about the same asset can be produced in a decentralized way by different actors, and then be re-aggregated as a single graph of information.

The technology itself can help organizations improve their internal data curation processes and maintain better links between, for instance, digitized objects and their descriptions, and improve data publishing processes within the organization, even in a context where all the data isn’t necessarily open. Cultural organizations will be able to make use of mainstream technologies to manage their data. Today's library technology is specific to library data formats, leading to the existence of a special Integrated Library Systems industry specific to libraries. Library system vendors will benefit from the adoption of mainstream technology as it will give them an opportunity to broaden their user base. The fact of not being tied to the library-specific data formats will be a benefit to developers.

Linked Data may be a first step toward an "in the cloud" approach to managing cultural information -- one which will be more cost-effective than individual systems in institutions. This approach will make it possible for small institutions or individual projects to be visible and connected, with reduced infrastructure costs.

Moreover, in an open data context, these institutions will gain greater visibility on the Web, which is where most information seekers may be found. The focus on identifiers allows descriptions to be tailored to specific communities such as museums, archives, galleries, and audiovisual archives. The openness of data is more an opportunity than a threat. Clarification of the licensing conditions of descriptive metadata facilitates its reuse and improves institutional visibility. Data thus exposed will be put to unexpected uses, as in the adage: “The best thing to do to your data will be thought of by somebody else.”

Benefits to Librarians, Archivists and Curators

The benefits to Patrons and Organizations will also have a direct impact on library and memory-institution professionals. By using Linked Data, memory institutions will create an open, global pool of shared data that can be used and re-used to describe resources, with a limited amount of redundant effort compared with current cataloguing processes.

The use of the Web and Web-based identifiers will make up-to-date resource descriptions directly citable by cataloguers. The use of shared identifiers will allow them to pull together descriptions for resources outside their domain environment, across all cultural heritage datasets, and even the web at large. They will be able to concentrate their effort on their domain of local expertise, rather than having to re-create existing descriptions that have been already elaborated by others.

History shows that all technologies are transitory, and the history of information technology suggests that specific data formats are especially short-lived. By making a clean distinction between the meaning of data ("semantics") and specific data structures ("syntax" or "formats"), Linked Data will lead to the creation of better, more durable descriptive standards.

Benefits to Developers and Vendors

Library developers and vendors will directly benefit from not being tied to library-specific data formats. Linked Data methods support the retrieval and re-mixing of data in a way that is consistent across all metadata providers. Instead of requiring data to be accessed using library-centric protocols (e.g., Z39.50), linked data uses well-known standard Web protocols (e.g., HTTP). Developers will also no longer have to work with library-specific data formats such as MARC, which require custom software tools and applications. Linked Data methods involve pushing data onto the Web in a form that is understandable to Web applications. Library vendors that support Linked Data will be able to market their products outside of the library world, while vendors outside the library world may be able to adapt their more generic products to the specific requirements of libraries. By leveraging RDF and HTTP, library developers are freed from the need to use domain-specific software, opening a growing range of generic tools, much of which are open-source. Thus they will find it much easier to build new services on top of their data. This also opens up a much larger developer community to provide support to IT professional in libraries. In a sea of RDF triples, no developer is an island.