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Standard library metadata models and structures for the Semantic Web

Library Hi Tech News

ISSN: 0741-9058

Article publication date: 3 May 2011




There has been a significant increase in activity over the past few years to integrate library metadata with the Semantic Web. While much of this has involved the development of controlled vocabularies as “linked data”, there have recently been concerted attempts to represent standard library models for bibliographic metadata in forms that are compatible with Semantic Web technologies. This paper aims to give an overview of these initiatives, describing relationships between them in the context of the Semantic Web.


The paper focusses on standards created and maintained by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, including Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, Functional Requirements for Authority Data, and International Standard Bibliographic Description. It also covers related standards and models such as RDA – Resource Description and Access, REICAT (the new Italian cataloguing rules) and CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model, and the technical infrastructure for supporting relationships between them, including the RDA/ONIX framework for resource categorization, and Vocabulary Mapping Framework.


The paper discusses the importance of these developments for releasing the rich metadata held by libraries as linked data, addressing semantic and statistical inferencing, integration with user‐ and machine‐generated metadata, and authenticity, veracity and trust. It also discusses the representation of controlled vocabularies, including subject classifications and headings, name authorities, and terminologies for descriptive content, in a multilingual environment.

Practical implications

Finally, the paper discusses the potential collective impact of these initiatives on metadata workflows and management systems.


The paper provides a general review of recent activity for those interested in the development of library standards, the Semantic Web, and universal bibliographic control.



Dunsire, G. and Willer, M. (2011), "Standard library metadata models and structures for the Semantic Web", Library Hi Tech News, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 1-12.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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