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Use Case Library Address Data

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Use Case Library Address Data


Anette Seiler

Background and Current Practice

Libraries are also resources in the Semantic Web-sense of the term. They need to be identified by URIs just as books and authors are identified. The hbz created a linked data set of library institutions that can be used for linking in different linked data scenarios. [1]


  • 1) Libraries can be identified on the Semantic Web. This gives the opportunity to find information about the library.
  • 2) An easy way for libraries to publish data about themselves would be using RDFa on their websites. This information can be harvested into the hbz organisations triple store.

Target Audience

Libraries and library users

Use Case Scenario

We use the data to link holdings data to bibliographic data. Uses can be envisaged for ILL and similar systems.

The following scenario for end users was formulated during a meeting of the hbz-lod-group members: A user opens her (yet to be developed) library app on her smartphone. According to the geo coordinates determined by the smartphone or the location she enters, libraries in her vicinity are listed. Not only the addresses to the libraries are given, but also information about the type of library (e.g. special library / public library / university library), subject coverage, access to the library (open to all / open to staff and students of the university / open to staff members of a company), opening hours, a link to the OPAC, information about WiFi access, study places and coffee/soft drink vending machines in the library are made available. The user can select the library she is interested in and click on a button to the navigation software on her smart phone.

Application of linked data for the given use case

The hbz has already published linked data on library institutions that could be used in the above scenarios. Of course information on WiFi access and vending machines must still be made available by libraries. We believe that publishing the information in RDFa on the library home page would be the right way to make the information available. The RDFa triples could be harvested into the existing lobid-organisations database to keep the data up to date.

Existing Work

See documentation on lobid-organisations [1]. An example URI describing the hbz [2] returns on the browser (through content negotiation) a description of the institution [3]. The descriptions themselves are also encoded in RDFa.

Related Vocabularies (optional)

  • dcterms [5]
  • FOAF [6]
  • geo [7]
  • hcard [8]
  • vcard [9]

To extend the data to make the smartphone app-scenario possible, additional (yet to be determined) vocabulary has to be used.

Problems and Limitations

One problem we have is, that geo data for libraries is not available. We use Googles Geocoding API [4] but may not store the geo information as triples. It would be great if libraries made their geo coordinates available in some way.

Keeping the information up to date. Whereas physical addresses seldom change, information on opening hours, WiFi access, etc. may change on short notice. We believe that libraries should give the information only once (in RDFa) on their own websites. The RDFa data could then be harvested regularly to keep the database up to date.

Library Linked Data Dimensions / Topics


  • Systems
    • Library systems
      • ILL systems
  • Social uses
    • Mash-ups


  • Knowledge representation issues / Describing library and museum authorities and KOS resources as Linked Data
    • Types of library data other than bibliographic and authority
  • Use of Identifiers for and in LLD
    • Identifiers for libraries and other institutions? ISIL, possibly urn:isil: namespace
  • Use of Identifiers
    • Identifiers for properties and classes, concepts, and "real world things"
  • Linking across datasets
    • Alignment of real-world-resource identifiers
  • Other
    • extraction of semantic data
  • linked data management, hosting, and preservation
    • Versioning, updates
    • Dissemination mechanisms: RDF schemas, RDFa, bulk download, feeds, SPARQL...

References (optional)