It has been no secret that we are using a vocabulary developed by Google, Microsoft, and others for exposing structured metadata on the web. Documented at Schema.org, this vocabulary is important because all of the major search engines are primed to look for it and will use it when they find it. Therefore, simply by using this vocabulary to describe library resources on the web we are adding structured data about library materials into all of the major search engines.
But as you can imagine, this vocabulary doesn’t (yet) identify everything we may wish to describe within the library world. Thus an effort launched, headed up by our Technology Evangelist Richard Wallis, to extend the Schema.org vocabulary. That initiative, supported by a W3C Community Group, brought together some 80 or more cultural heritage institution professionals from around the world to help specify new terms and properties to use in conjunction with Schema.org.
And then a really cool thing happened.
The folks who manage Schema.org decided to adopt some of the elements proposed by the group directly into the Schema.org vocabulary. To find out the details, see Richard’s post about it on his blog and also a guest post at Schema.org by Richard and Dan Scott. But suffice it to say that this is huge. We have demonstrated the ability of libraries, museums, and archives to make a difference in the growing linked data ecology of the Internet.
Rather than being a metadata backwater as we have been since time immemorial, where no one but librarians understand our metadata, we are now embedding our descriptions of cultural heritage resources directly into the web itself. And what’s not to like about that?