The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Wikimedia Foundation have been discussing how best to collaborate for several years. In 2016 a summit held at an IFLA meeting identified key areas of interest, one of which was:

  • Using linked open data (LOD) to describe and connect resources, to mutually enrich Wikimedia and library discovery sources

Now, ARL has published a white paper on Wikimedia and Linked Open Data. It recommends a number of ways for librarians to use the open knowledge base in advancing the global discovery of their collections, faculty, and institutions. 

Libraries employ a number of strategies to make their collections discoverable and accessible on the web, including making links available on Wikipedia. The move to openly licensed metadata, open citations, and linked open data reflect the shift to open scholarship. Increasing the exposure of library collections in Wikipedia has also been a critical part of advancing a diversity and equity agenda by helping to fill and address known gaps. Linked open data (LOD) is openly sourced, commonly formatted, and interrelated and sets out to “put information where people are looking for it – on the web”.

Practical steps for libraries

The white paper sets out ways for libraries to become engaged with Wikidata:

For institutions that want to start adding bibliographic data to Wikidata the white paper offers several suggestions, including making micro-contributions using the Wikidata Distributed Game or adding in missing descriptions to existing items.

For those that want to start adding scholarly data to Wikidata suggestions include hosting edit-a-thons to add faculty and researcher profiles and publications to Wikidata.

For institutions that want to begin to improve the diversity, equity, and inclusion of Wikidata, the suggestions include adding descriptions to existing collections with biases to include more diverse identities from sets integrated in Wikidata or other related sets and using Wikidata as a mechanism for connecting data sets focused on underrepresented groups or marginalised collections.

The full white paper can be downloaded here



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