Friday, April 22, 2016

Linked Data Exploratorium

By now, most technical services librarians realize that Linked Data is a topic of importance when considering the future of cataloging. However, it is one thing to realize the importance of a topic and quite another to feel empowered to learn about a topic. There are many resources about Linked Data, but it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start in your professional education on the topic. The Linked Data Exploratorium, a product of the Linked Data for Professional Education (LD4PE) project, is a comprehensive resource that can go a long way toward reducing that feeling of “Where do I start?”

The lead sponsors of LD4PE are the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, and the University of Washington iSchool. According to the Project History page on their web site, the goal of the project is to create “an online learning environment in support of instruction in the principles and practice of Linked Data – a ‘language lab’ of software-supported methods for data processing and analysis.”

A distinctive feature of the Linked Data Exploratorium is its competency framework. One hurdle for me when trying to learn about Linked Data is the fact that I feel like I don’t even know what I need to learn.  The Competency Index (CI) breaks down the many components of Linked Data into distinct competencies, or skills that people looking to get involved in Linked Data projects should master. The Linked Data Exploratorium web site provides some information about the Competency Index for Linked Data, and the CI is also available as a Google document, to allow for comments and feedback. 

The Competency Index is a very detailed document, but the main competencies addressed (which each have their own sub-competencies) are:

  • Fundamentals of Resource Description Framework
  • Fundamentals of Linked Data
  • RDF vocabularies and application profiles
  • Creating and transforming Linked Data
  • Interacting with RDF data
  • Creating Linked Data applications
The Competency Index informs the organization of the learning resources that have been gathered by the Linked Data for Professional Education project for the Linked Data Exploratorium. It is possible to browse the resources by competency, so you can identify the resources that most closely relate to the skills and knowledge you wish to acquire. Overall, the Linked Data Exploratorium looks like a great jumping-off point for those looking to learn more about Linked Data.

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