Thursday Threads: Library Linked Data, Shifts in Publishing, Questions for Software Migrations, Announcement

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In this weeks thread of topics: the final report of library linked data, an interview with one of the executives of Wiley Publishing, important questions to ask when considering major system migrations, and the announcement of work to begin on a new comment and evaluation overlay layer for the web.

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Library Linked Data Incubator Group Final Report

Key recommendations of the report are:

  • That library leaders identify sets of data as possible candidates for early exposure as Linked Data and foster a discussion about Open Data and rights;
  • That library standards bodies increase library participation in Semantic Web standardization, develop library data standards that are compatible with Linked Data, and disseminate best-practice design patterns tailored to library Linked Data;
  • That data and systems designers design enhanced user services based on Linked Data capabilities, create URIs for the items in library datasets, develop policies for managing RDF vocabularies and their URIs, and express library data by re-using or mapping to existing Linked Data vocabularies;
  • That librarians and archivists preserve Linked Data element sets and value vocabularies and apply library experience in curation and long-term preservation to Linked Data datasets.
- Library Linked Data Incubator Group Final Report, World Wide Web Consortium Incubator Group

This week the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the publication of the final report of the Library Linked Data Incubator Group. I’m happy to have been a part of the creation of this report. I think it is an important stake in the ground that documents where we are now and where we could be going with connecting library data to a wider world. We wrote it with several audiences in mind -- each of the groups highlighted in the block quote above -- so I think you'll get something out of it no matter what your career path in the library profession. (If parts seem a little technical, skip them until you hit the next section.)

Failure is a digital prerequisite

In the following podcast, Jesse Wiley (@jcwiley), who works on digital and new business initiatives at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and is a seventh-generation Wiley family member, talks about the challenges the 200-year-old company faces in the digital age. Wiley says that success and innovation depend on learning how to fail — and expecting to fail.

- Failure is a digital prerequisite, O'Reilly Radar blog

This 25 minute interview is part of the O'Reilly "Tools of Change" podcast series. Tools of Change is a conference and related media put together by O'Reilly Media that seeks to explore the boundaries of what is happening in the publishing field. This interview is a thoughtful exploration of what it takes for a company the size of Wiley to navigate the shift from all print to combined print/digital as it tries to figure out what parts of its business model belong in an all-digital world. It is useful for libraries to know what publishers are going through and considering as we navigate this shift ourselves.

Ten Questions to Ask About LMS Migrations

Admittedly, many of these questions seem – indeed are – obvious. Yet a steady stream of campus newspaper articles, editorials, and blogs periodically delivered to my computer via Google Alerts affirms the wise words a pragmatic professor offered in the opening moments of a graduate seminar on public policy many years ago: “implementation is the movement from cup to lip.” While many campuses to a great job of planning the transition to a new LMS, a good number do not. And the problem areas all seem to involve training and support for students and faculty.

As with so many IT issues, technology may be the easy part of a LMS transition. It’s the planning, policy, and people factors that pose the real (and continuing) challenges.

- Ten Questions to Ask About LMS Migrations, Kenneth C. Green, Inside Higher Ed

In this context, "LMS" is "learning management system" -- the systems in higher education that professors use to bring a digital component to their classes with an online syllabus, discussion forums, document posting, etc. The ten questions are equally useful for considering transitions from integrated library systems. The headings of the questions are:

  1. Why are we considering a LMS review and possible LMS migration?
  2. What does our current LMS do well and what do we want (need!) it to do better?
  3. What is the real annual cost of our current LMS?
  4. Who will be involved in the review process?
  5. What’s been the experience of institutions similar to ours that have undertaken a LMS review and a LMS migration?
  6. How fast are we prepared to migrate to a new LMS, should we decide to do so?
  7. What kind of training and support services will students and faculty need to expedite the transition to a new LMS?
  8. What are the benefits – instructional, operational, and financial – of migrating to a new LMS?
  9. How will we evaluate the LMS migration process?
  10. How should we document the LMS migration experience?

The article has explanatory paragraphs for each of these questions. The Internet, peer reviewed.

If wherever we encountered new information, sentence by sentence, frame by frame, we could easily know the best thinking on it.

If we had confidence that this represented the combined wisdom of the most informed people--not as anointed by editors, but as weighed over time by our peers, objectively, statistically and transparently.

If this created a powerful incentive for people to ensure that their works met a higher standard, and made it perceptibly harder to spread information that didn't meet that standard.

These goals are possible with today's technologies.

They are the objectives of

This is a pre-announcement for a new layer that will sit above the web as we know it now and allow for commenting, rating, and evaluation of content in a browser. It proposes to be an open source, distributed effort with the potential to be a neutral evaluation source. The five minute video introducing the project is full of hopeful expectation for what this layer of commentary and evaluation can do for human progress. As I listened, I wonder what the role of libraries would be as nodes for hosting the proposed open-source solutions for people to store their comments and evaluations.

The project has signed on a number of notable names of internet culture to advise the development team. It is in the process of gathering $100,000 of funding from volunteers via the Kickstart service with a deadline of November 14th. This is a project to watch.