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"Linked Data: Implementation, Use and Perceptions across European National Libraries." L. F. Cagnazzo. D. Pennington. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2017. Download PDF (BibTeX) ILS

Since its creation, the digital world has been evolving at exponential rate, presenting both its developers and users with the constant challenge of updating their skills and knowledge in order to support its development, and take advantage of its potential. Alongside with the more popular World Wide Web and Web 2.0, another version of the web has been developing quietly, compared to the spectacular growth of its 'relatives': the Semantic Web, also known as Web 3.0 or Web of Data. If the expression 'Semantic Web' reflects the more general concept, 'linked data' can be defined as the key tool to realise the idea.

This dissertation focused on the investigation of the implementation and use of linked data across national libraries in Europe. Considering the increasing weight that the 'Semantic Web' discussion has been gaining on the international scene over the past decade or so, it was deemed necessary undertaking a study to understand the role that libraries are playing in such context. The selection of the research sample fell on national libraries, as organisations invested with the responsibility of leading and shaping the development of the cultural heritage network of their own country. The aim of the research is to deliver a comprehensive picture of the current state of linked data implementation in Europe, gathering information on reasons, purposes, and uses of this technology, together with perceptions on related benefits and challenges as per the experience of the information professionals involved in the implementing process.

What emerged from this study is a strong need to spread the awareness of the Semantic Web potential within the library environment. Although various institutions have applied linked data to their resources, they are still in the minority, and a considerable lack of expertise has been identified. Some of the projects achieved have showed the advantages that linked data can deliver in terms of augmenting the visibility and discoverability of library data, alongside with overcoming linguistic barriers, and supporting interoperability. However, several issues still remain unsolved, requiring the efforts of further research. Whilst the early implementers bewailed a lack of guidelines and tools to assist their first steps, the situation has started to change, with an increasing number of vendors and developers contributing to the Semantic Web advancement. Nonetheless, libraries clearly expressed the demand for positive and successful cases of linked data use, that can best support and motivate their choice of adhering to the web of data principles.