Library Linked Data Incubator Group Charter

The mission of the Library Linked Data Incubator Group is to help increase global interoperability of library data on the Web, by bringing together people involved in Semantic Web activities—focusing on Linked Data—in the library community and beyond, building on existing initiatives, and identifying collaboration tracks for the future.

The group will explore how existing building blocks of librarianship, such as metadata models, metadata schemas, standards and protocols for building interoperability and library systems and networked environments, encourage libraries to bring their content, and generally re-orient their approaches to data interoperability towards the Web, also reaching to other communities. It will also envision these communities as a potential major provider of authoritative datasets (persons, topics...) for the Linked Data Web. As these evolutions raise a need for a shared standardization effort within the library community around (Semantic) Web standards, the group will refine the knowledge of this need, express requirements for standards and guidelines, and propose a way forward for the library community to contribute to further Web standardization actions.

The incubator group has been initiated by actors from national libraries, university libraries and research units, library vendors companies and other interested stakeholders. Its scope is however not limited to libraries as institutions, but is meant to involve other cultural heritage institutions, partners from the publishing industry, and other relevant domains.

Join the Library Linked Data Incubator Group.

End date 31 August 2011
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Initial Chairs Tom Baker, Emmanuelle Bermes, Antoine Isaac (VU)
Initiating Members
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: weekly
Face-to-face: Once Annually


The changing landscape of librarianship increases their need for visibility and interoperability on the Web. In particular, the ubiquitous growth of digital libraries has led them to broaden their practices, standards and activities. Shared catalogues are going online on the open Web, digitized items collections are being brought together in worldwide initiatives, digital resources like online serials, preprints or web archives are driving the need for re-inventing librarianship.

Digital libraries rely deeply on existing building blocks of librarianship, such as:

Moreover this activity is no longer isolated in the library environment. Actors from a broader set of domains (libraries, archives, museums, publishing, the Web) now share common issues and standards. Their capacity to jointly build interoperable solutions is key to the development of cultural and scientific content across the Web.

A re-orientation in the library perspective on information interoperability is needed, building on existing Web architecture and standards, in order to bring this content to the Web. A lot of structured data is already available within library systems and could be released as Linked Data, using Semantic Web technologies. Cultural heritage institutions could be a major provider of authoritative datasets (persons, topics...) for the Linked Data Web.

However, there are some barriers. Real adoption of the very principles of Linked Data in these communities will require coordination. Today, a lot of Semantic Web related projects exist in this domain, but they are scattered and there is little communication, let alone collaboration between them. Moreover, they are often being built at a research and development level, and moving their results into mainstream practice seems challenging.


Activities include:

Success Criteria

The Library Linked Data Incubator Group will be considered successful if it can elaborate a state of the art report on the adoption of Linked data principles and perspective in the library domain and related sectors, leading to a clear and agreed view regarding what further standards and guidelines should be developed, and what organization should be set up in order to develop them.

Out of Scope

The development or assessment of particular ontologies or vocabularies is outside the scope of this group. The group may identify relevant vocabularies and ontologies, but not intervene in their evolution or creation.


As a W3C Incubator group, our primary responsibility is to produce a final report presenting the landscape of Linked data development in the library domain and related sectors, and propose a way forward for these communities to participate productively in further W3C standardization actions.

Also, a number of other deliverables may be produced by the Incubator Group, although this work may also be subsumed into the final report, including :

  1. A use-case document that describes a number of real-world use cases, case studies, outreach and dissemination initiatives targeted to the library community and related sectors
  2. A document that describes relevant technology pieces, including vocabularies and ontologies (e.g., SKOS), with the intended goal to identify extension or interoperability requirements, and help determine what other standards may be needed.


W3C Groups

eGovernment Interest Group
The release of government-related data might share some commonalities with cultural heritage one.
OWL Working Group
As one of the major Semantic Web standards the use of which should be developed in the library domain and related sectors.
Provenance Incubator group
Cross-over topics are possible as provenance and metadata is a major preoccupation for libraries.
RDFa Working Group
RDFa offers interesting publishing means for library data.
Semantic Web Activity
All standards and initiatives within Semantic Web activities are relevant.
Semantic Web Health Care and Life Sciences (HCLS) Interest Group
The release of biomedical science data and translational medicine data might share some commonalities with cultural heritage one.</</dd>
Semantic Web Interest Group
Shared domain of interest.
SPARQL Working Group
As one of the major Semantic Web standards the use of which should be developed in the library domain and related sectors.

External Groups

Documentation committee for the museums.
Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
This group maintains the Dublin Core metadata terms, a major metadata vocabulary for the libraries and cultural heritage sector. Other task groups, such as DCMI/NKOS are also relevant.
Group that coordinates the development of standards for the publishing industry
The International Federation of Library Associations is responsible for the development of library standards internationally.
The Technical Committee 37 / SC4 of ISO is responsible for Language resource management standards within ISO.
The Technical Committee 46 of ISO is responsible for Information and documentation standards within ISO. Standards like ISO 25964 (Thesauri and Interoperability with other Vocabularies) are particularly relevant.
Open Archives Initiative
Responsible for the development of interoperability standards for the cultural heritage and academic community, including OAI-ORE.
Resource Description and Access (RDA) Joint Steering Committee
Developed by the Joint Steering Committee for the development of RDA, this ongoing initiative is considered as the major standard shift for cataloguing rules in the forthcoming years.
Semuse is an open and collaborative community based project to work on the Semantic Museum.
As one of the major semantic Web standards used today within the library community, a close contact with the SKOS community is expected.


Professionals from Libraries, Cultural heritage institutions, Library software companies, Publishing sector companies, relevant standardization organizations, Universities, Documentation organizations and research units are welcome to participate in this incubator group. Members should be expected to introduce themselves and participate over the public mailing-list.

Participants must be willing to attend the majority of the group's teleconferences and face-to-face meetings, and actively participate to the elaboration of deliverables.


This group primarily conducts its work on the public mailing-list public-xg-lld@w3.org (archive).

The mailing lists will be a primary part of the communication both internally and externally. If needed, a wiki able to be accessible and editable by all can also be maintained, and a blog could be maintained in order to let others be easily informed about the progress of the group.

The group's Member-only list is member-xg-lld@w3.org (archive).

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Library Linked Data Incubator Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

Patent Policy

This Incubator Group provides an opportunity to share perspectives on the topic addressed by this charter. W3C reminds Incubator Group participants of their obligation to comply with patent disclosure obligations as set out in Section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy. While the Incubator Group does not produce Recommendation-track documents, when Incubator Group participants review Recommendation-track specifications from Working Groups, the patent disclosure obligations do apply.

Incubator Groups have as a goal to produce work that can be implemented on a Royalty Free basis, as defined in the W3C Patent Policy.

Participants agree to offer patent licenses according to the W3C Royalty-Free licensing requirements described in Section 5 of the W3C Patent Policy for any portions of the XG Reports produced by this XG that are subsequently incorporated into a W3C Recommendation produced by a Working Group which is chartered to take the XG Report as an input. This licensing commitment may not be revoked but may be modified through the Exclusion process defined in Section 4 of the Patent Policy.

Participants in this Incubator Group wishing to exclude essential patent claims from the licensing commitment must join the Working Group created to work on the XG Report and follow the normal exclusion procedures defined by the Patent Policy. The W3C Team is responsible for notifying all Participants in this Incubator Group in the event that a new Working Group is proposed to develop a Recommendation that takes the XG Report as an input.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Library Linked Data Incubator Group has been created according to the Incubator Group Procedures documentation. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Charter extension history: 12 May 2011, 3-month extension granted till 31 August 2011.

Tom Baker, Emmanuelle Bermes, Antoine Isaac

$Date: 2011/06/08 08:55:02 $