Scotland meshed with the Dewey Web

That was very good news about DDC 23 released as linked data. Joan Mitchell gives a good overview in her presentation on Dewey linked data given at the recent conference in Florence. I like the metromap on slide 25 showing the value vocabularies linked to the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), with DDC as the interchange. This idea was investigated during the High-Level Thesaurus (HILT) project by the Centre for Digital Library Research at the University of Strathclyde. The next phase of the project would have developed a linked data approach but was refused funding. See the presentation on Signposting the crossroads from the UDC seminar in 2009 for more information and screenshots of potential applications.

As well as acting as a hub interchange for subject headings and classification notations from different schemes, DDC linked data has the potential to act as a kind of semantic attractor. For example, a very detailed knowledge organization system (KOS) such as a subject thesaurus with deep granularity below the scope of DDC is likely to have one or more top-level concepts which are in scope and can be mapped to the corresponding DDC notation. The broader/narrow links of the KOS then connect to the broader/narrow links of DDC, providing seamless vertical navigation and the ability to cross over to similar extensions to DDC. Sounds like metafractals to me.

The availability of the full edition of DDC as linked data will also allow Scotland’s Information tag cloud to get beneath 941 (British Isles) to slightly more relevant concepts such as 941.1 (Scotland). But first it has to be converted to use dewey.info rather than the static DDC Summaries.

Slide 24 of Joan’s presentation shows the different language translations of DDC, so there is potential support for the multilingual semantic web. And if you look closely, you will see that the Summaries have been translated into Scots Gaelic, and are available as linked data from dewey.info. For example, 025 (Library operations) in Gaelic is Obrachadh leabharlainn.

  • The important thing to know is that the language code/URI extension for Scots Gaelic is “gd”.

This should help libraries support the Gaelic language plan of The Scottish Government. Evidence of what can be done is demonstrated by the Portree project, described by Elaine Fulton in a presentation to the European DDC Users Group seminar this year. The project hits other buttons, too, such as access to information in rural areas and engagement of young people with libraries. The data may also help the National Library of Scotland’s plan to “Offer full Gaelic language discovery interface by December 2013″ (page 4), as some of the records imported into the main catalogue have DDC notations. What we need now is to extend the Gaelic translation to at least the abridged edition of DDC …

I also notice that the linked data available from WorldCat is using dewey.info – so the soup thickens.

Posted in Semantic Web, subject classification | Leave a comment