On April 28, OCLC issued a press release (http://www.oclc.org/en-US/news/releases/2014/201414dublin.html) announcing the availability of 197 million bibliographic work descriptions, formatted as linked data. Collectively referred to as "WorldCat Works," the 197 million sets of linked data represent a leap forward in the migration of library data from traditional library catalogs to the linked data world of the World Wide Web.
Richard Wallis, OCLC's "Technology Evangelist," posted an article (http://dataliberate.com/2014/04/worldcat-works-197-million-nuggets-of-linked-data/) the same day with further information about the project and its significance to libraries. Roy Tennant devoted a post on the Hanging Together blog (http://hangingtogether.org/?p=3811) to this development, calling it "the most important thing you haven't heard of." Both Wallis and Tennant point their readers toward an example, Gandhi's "Story of my experiments with truth" (http://experiment.worldcat.org/entity/work/data/1151002411.html). Looking at the example, one sees a set of, well, links. The links are separated into a number of categories, many of which will be familiar to catalogers (e.g., contributor, creator, genre). The links can be viewed as several different kinds of RDF serializations, in addition to HTML: Turtle, RDF/XML, N-Triples, and JSON-LD.
While recognizing the significance of what OCLC has done, I confess to some confusion. The "work" chosen as an example is actually what RDA calls an "expression." Gandhi's "work" in the example is a translation of his autobiography, which was originally written in Gujarati, yet this is nowhere apparent in the sample "work" description. The original Gujarati work has its own work description (http://experiment.worldcat.org/entity/work/data/1809067428.html); as far as I can tell, it includes no link to the English translation. Is it unrealistic to expect linked data to provide links between works and their translations? Tennant's blog post explicitly refers to this capability: "By aggregating various translations of works around a single identifier, we can then present the record that a particular user wishes to see given their language capabilities." Unless I am misunderstanding what linked data is supposed to do (entirely possible!), what I am seeing so far in OCLC's work descriptions does NOT live up to this promise.