Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DLF Spring Forum 2009

In early May, I attended the Digital Library Federation Spring Forum 2009. Attendance was extremely low, compared to previous DLF Forums that I've attended. The atmosphere was somewhat somber, as DLF prepares to relinquish its independent status and return to the CLIR fold. Chuck Henry, the President of CLIR, talked about this during his opening remarks. CLIR is currently committed to continuing the two meetings per year format used by DLF. He also talked about expanding the mission into new domains, mentioning specificlly that CLIR is exploring relationships between spy agencies and humanists through its research programs.

Clay Redding gave a very interesting presentation describing how the Library of Congress is building linked data services for authorities and controlled vocabularies. The first data to be made available through this mechanism is the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). The idea behind the linked data approach is to provide information that can be acted on by both humans and machines. This is done by creating identifiers for each term and using a consistent knowledge representation to describe it. Additionally, each collection and concept has its own URI, making it a resource. These resources can be related to other URIs or terms using RDF. With this framework in place, existing semantic web tools can be brought to bear, including inferencing and visualization. While LCSH is first out of the gate, LC plans to release many more resources using this approach.

David Ruddy of Cornell also gave a talk about a novel approach to linking resources using OpenURL. The approach employed both institutional- and domain-based OpenURL resolvers, with the idea that the domain-specific resolvers could fill in needed data before passing requests on to the institutional resolvers. While still fairly adherent to the OpenURL 0.1 approach, it is heartening to see work like this that starts to move us toward a more sophisticated approach. I would like to see more applications take fuller advantage of the 2004 NISO OpenURL framework, as has the Djatoka service being developed at LANL and presented at Open Repositories 2009 by Ryan Chute.

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