IFLA 2013 Satellite Meeting – Information Technology Section UILLD – User interaction built on Library linked data. Friday 16th August.

20130817-091136.jpgThe day was a number of talks about user interfaces building on linked data. This is an area that I did not know much about and some of the sessions were very theoretical but I did get excited about the potential.

Some takeaways:
Tim Berners-Lee has four principles of Linked Data. These seem to be widely adopted by the linked data community.
1. Use URIs to denote things.
2. Use HTTP URIs so that these things can be referred to and looked up (“dereferenced”) by people and user agents.
3. Provide useful information about the thing when its URI is dereferenced, leveraging standards such as RDF, SPARQL.
4. Include links to other related things (using their URIs) when publishing data on the Web.

Common themes:
When libraries publish their linked data and make it open, it opens the door to reuse of the data – in ways that are beneficial to the end user. An example of this was data.bnf.fr which made its data available to a public library in Paris – the public library has no cataloguers but instead reuses the National Library of France bibliographic records with the addition of being able to link other data to the records. What the user sees is data from data.bnf.fr (National Library) and data from the local library management system and the relationships between the data – links to pages of contemporaries of the author, timeline of the author’s works (thought this would be very useful in a public library setting).

Interestingly the public library in Paris had a prominent search for books that had awards – as the French like to read titles that have awards. The France project made their project searchable by Google so they could be where the users are.
The experience of the user needs to be considered – each talk I attended ended with the next step being reviewing user’s feedback and making further changes.

Making the end result discoverable outside of the library web site – nearly every talk had some reference to making the resources indexed by Google and other search engines.

And I liked the idea that linked data could allow the original data to stay where it has always been (library management system) but you could build interfaces that gave a different user experience without changing your local systems.


The talk that most resonated with me was “Following the user’s flow in the digital Pompidou.” Emmanuelle Bermes – Head of Multimedia Service, Centre Georges Pompidou, France.
Please go and explore the Pompidou’s website Centre Georges Pomidou, France

The Pompidou launched a project to revamp the website in 2007 which was completed in 2012.
They have 126,000 digital resources including 59,000 works from the museum. Only around 5000 exhibits are accessible if you visit onsite.
Their key requirements – open to all, reflect diversity of cultural activities, reveal what is hidden, preserve sensible contact with art, openness to new and alternative forms of art.
What was different from the institutions point of view once the project was completed?
1. The web site was the main online access – not an additional tool for academics
2. The digital content production was integrated into day to day activity –
all content produced by pompidou is supposed to go online
no dedicated content is created for the website only
3. The data comes from 10+ databases
4. They used linked data technology to bind together the databases.
5. The user interface designed to be simple and clear – mainly black and white to make the works more clear – used tabs to make the most of vertical browsing

What was different from the users point of view?
1. All the content on same level – no guided tour, no highlights
2. The content is rich – very rich
3. Serendipity is achieved and one can get lost (where’s the site map?)
IFLA World Library and Information Congress
79th IFLA General Conference and Assembly
17-23 August 2013, Singapore

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