Kohacon 14 Day 2 – Extending Koha using linked data

Next up Galen remoted in to talk about using Koha with linked data.

He talked about what we can do right now with linked data, starting by explaining how the current record based view of the world works. He showed a record in MARC21 and then same record in Bibframe.

He then showed how you can map it to an identifier. But the problem is still that it is massive mindshift to a linked data view of the world from the MARC centric view of the world.

  • Change is hard
  • Change is unpredictable
  • Change is expensive
  • Change is time consuming

Libraries often adopt new technologies too soon, for example

  1. 1968 MARC
  2. 1969 GML invented
  3. 1978 first SGML
  4. 1998 XML

If we were to start now, we wouldn’t invent MARC

So what can we do, well one option is BURN THE WORLD DOWN and start again. Or we could do the proprietary vendor game, or wait a few years for somebody to tell us how to solve all our problems. But we could also do what Oslo public is doing and being prototyping/experimenting now.

So what we can do right now? Embrace incremental change, take advantage of the fact MARC tools are improving, and let the authority records save us.

So in Koha we can link authority records to biblio records right now, using the $9 subfield. We could also link instead to a global identifier, via a URI which then becomes a link to a RDF identifier. This means we can link to other sources such as VIAF.

He put his slides up, which contain the examples he shows, again it is hard to explain in words.


  • Catmandu RDF and MARC
  • OpenRefine
  • Linked data RFC for Koha


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