LOD in Bibliography: The celebrated Public Library of Veroia in Web 3.0

October 8, 2012 in Case Studies

The following post is written by Bratsas Charalampos who is the coordinator of the Greek OKFN local group.

The Veria Central Public Library is a legal entity of public law, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs. It was established in 1953, when the city’s municipal library was upgraded to a public library. The staff of the Veria Central Public Library in Veria, Greece, realized the power of technology early on. In 1992, the library’s catalogue was already fully automated. In 1996, the library became the first in the nation to provide its users free access to computers and the Internet. In 1997, it was the first to have its own website.

Veria’s library is small, serving the town’s 50,000 residents and 130,000 more people in the surrounding areas, but its commitment to innovation and experimentation has made it a model for libraries in Greece and throughout the world. Most importantly, the mission of the Veria Library is to make a real difference in people’s lives. “We didn’t build our service on providing books. We built our name on the concept that we give you services to make your life easier and more enjoyable,” said Ioannis Trohopoulos, the library’s director. The Library was the recipient of the 2010 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award (ATLA).

The OKFN Greece in co-op with the Web Science M.Sc Program at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,Faculty of Mathematics, which is also established in Veroia, had the idea to make a step further on the services the Library offered, by exposing the bibliographic data under the principles of Linked Data. Thus, bringing the Library in the Web of Data world, and make available Semantic Web Services for it’s users. So, Public Library of Veroia LOD Project was born!

The conversation about a possible cooperation initiated late April 2012 and by end of June 2012 we were provided with a dump of the the bibliographic data. The data was in .iso2709 format, containing MARC records for the about 70.000 records the Library held by this time. The first phase was to describe the data with appropriate vocabulary. Taking under consideration previous work at the British National Bibliography, the National Library of Spain (BNE), WorldCat and others, we decided on the vocabularies we shoulld use. The decision was to use well established and human understandable voacabularies, as we think that the linked data concept is not only for specialists on the semantic web, or librarians. It is for people. So, we used common vocabularies such as Dublin Core, FOAF, BIBO,  RDVOCAB amongst others, so the hole data can be understandable by both people and machines, and developers can make easy use of the data. We developed a new RDFizer coded in C++, that converts MARC records from the .iso2709 format into RDF triples. The philosophy of the RDFizer is to be easy configurable, via simple text(.txt) files for the mappings, and to run in any system with very little requierments. The whole proccess of rdfizing took 10 minutes on an laptop with AMD E-450 1.65Ghz, and 4GB RAM  for the convertion of 70.000 records, producing about 1.300.000 triples. The code will be freely available after the presantation of this Master Theses.

The second phase was to make links with other Datasets. We used Silk to make connections to DBpedia, both international and the greek version. This proccess produced about 8.000 links in the sameAs format. We are currently on work to link with other datasets as VIAF, Open Library, BNB,BNE, Worldcat, DEWEY and others.

With the triples ready, the third phase was to set up a Virtuoso server so we could provide access to services like a SPARQL endpoint for the dataset, Faceted Browser, Entity Lookup and make possible issues like content negotiation and link dereferencing. We made also available for use the Relfinder application so you can explore the relationships between different entities within the dataset.

The fourth phase was to develop innovative applications that use the dataset. We developed a new search application where you can search for an author and see his profile, with all the books he authored,links to the description of each book and possibility to lend it from the Library,and also information about the author that was not previously available directly for the Library, provided from DBpedia. This is still under development but you can see a sample about Albert Einstein. Feel free to search for your favorite author.

Below you can find links for some services of the Project:

The data is published under the CC0 license. We are looking forward for your feedback, and we are open for suggestions and to discuss new possibilities.

Sources:
  1. Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  2. Public Library of Veroia
  3. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

 

Author of the Master Theses:

Karampatakis Sotirios

Supervisor:

Dr. Charalampos Bratsas

 

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