For libraries taking the first step into Linked Open Data (LOD), using controlled vocabularies is an essential part of creating new data structures linking people, places, collections, and digital objects together. The Western Name Authority File (WNAF) will be a first step in collaboratively analyzing existing vocabularies, developing a data model, exploring infrastructure, and testing workflows that could be used throughout the Mountain West Digital Library (MWDL) network of partners. Building on existing work at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library of reconciling digital collection metadata fields against existing controlled vocabularies, this project would explore creating a regional vocabulary in an open and shareable format using a process that can be replicated at other institutions.
Currently in the MWDL and at local institutions, name variants provide users with unnecessary additional search options. A central name authority file like the WNAF can provide an essential reference tool for catalogers and metadata librarians. In addition, many MWDL partners are currently using vendor-based software that is not linked data compatible. The WNAF will provide a LOD project for librarians in the region to develop, opening up new opportunities for training and workflow development. The WNAF will serve as a model for other Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) hubs wishing to investigate methods of local LOD authority control.
Full Grant Narrative available here: https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/lg-72-16-0002_proposal_narrative.pdf