Semantic Web: What's New and Cool

Virtual Conference

About the Virtual Conference

Everything about information resources and tools seems to be in a transitional state. We are building a new kind of digital information environment, dubbed the Semantic Web. This event looks at a spectrum of approaches adopted in developing semantically-enhanced information resources and provides attendees with a better sense of the rate of speed at which this community is moving to achieve the Semantic Web.  

Presenters will talk about the semantic web landscape, the role linked open data plays in this environment, and current projects underway that demonstrate how the semantic web impacts the library and information community, and what experts in the wider communities are doing to achieve those goals.

Event Sessions



Marcie Granahan

Executive Director
National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS)

11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.

Keynote Address: Revolution Across the Information Industries ​​​​​​​


Matt Turner

Chief Technical Officer, Media and Entertainment
MarkLogic Corporation

11:10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Change is the only constant across the publishing and information industries and organizations and organizations of all types are using data, adding context and innovating. Matt Turner, CTO of Media and Entertainment at MarkLogic will look at these trends and how information providers are adopting to continuous unpredictable change.

International Cultural Informatics Collaborations: Crossing Borders Without Crossing Swords


J. Stephen Downie

Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. 

The speaker, J. Stephen Downie, has been engaged in several international cultural informatics collaborations over the past 15 years. Using lessons learned from two ongoing projects, “Digital Dunhuang” and the “HathiTrust Research Center,” this talk briefly summarizes some of the challenges and issues that have arisen as these projects engage with their international partners. Suggestions on how best to maximize the potentials of international cultural informatics collaborations while minimizing the problems will be presented.

Semantic Web, Linked Data: the Europeana case(s)


12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.  

The Linked Data vision and Semantic Web technologies opens big opportunities and challenges for Europeana and its cultural domain partners. This talk will present our efforts to address these with respect to metadata modeling, ingestion, and publishing to address these. This includes a new data model, a data ingestion service that can harvest third-party Linked Data used by Europeana data providers (thesauri, gazetteers…) and semantic enrichment–linking objects to external sources. We will present some of the benefits Europeana is already reaping from these developments, notably for its search services. And show that applying pieces of semantic web technology, without implementing the full stack at once, already brings benefits.

Lunch Break

1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Looking Inside the Library Knowledge Vault


1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. 

How do we ascertain truth on the web? That’s a question being pursued by researchers at Google who have articulated a flow of data that generates discrete statements of fact from countless web sources, relates those statements to previously assembled stores of knowledge, and fuses these mathematically to identify which statements may be more “truthful” than others. They describe this assembly of scored statements as a “Knowledge Vault.”

As OCLC works with data from library, archive and museum sources, we grapple with the same question and similarly varying data. Though the number of statements made is smaller and there may be fewer conflicts, we see benefits in testing how the Google Knowledge Vault research may apply to an aggregation of factual statements gleaned from these sources.

Jeff Mixter and Bruce Washburn will discuss how we’re evaluating this research, including:

  • extracting simple statements about entities and their relationships from bibliographic and authority records, 
  • establishing a relevant score for similar statements provided by different sources, 
  • viewing the Library Knowledge Vault data using a prototype application,
  • and testing how statements contributed by users of that prototype can find their way back to the Vault.

Getty Vocabularies and the Semantic Web


Joan Cobb

Principal IT Project Manager, Information Technology Services
J. Paul Getty Trust

2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. 

This presentation will offer a brief history of the project to publish Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN), and The Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) as Linked Open Data (LOD). It will begin with a brief description of some of the steps taken to educate ourselves about LOD and the world of the Semantic Web and go on to an overview of how these vocabularies can help cultural heritage resources connect to each other.


Implementing a BIBFRAME Catalog ​​​​​​​


Jeremy Nelson

Infrastructure Software Engineer, Digital Library Systems and Services
Stanford University Libraries

2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. 

Click to view slides

BIBFRAME, the Library of Congress’s RDF vocabulary and library linked-data replacement for MARC21, is in the process of major change to version 2.0. In 2014, the Library of Congress contracted with Jeremy Nelson and Aaron Schmidt to design and implement a BIBFRAME-based search and display system that became BIBCAT an open-source BIBFRAME Catalog with a pilot available at  For a second contract with the Library of Congress, Mike Stabile was brought in for BIBCAT user-interface improvements, reporting and visualization using Elasticsearch and Kibana, and better system administration using Docker images. We’ll discuss lessons learned from the previous iterations of BIBCAT  that are informing the design and implementation of an optimized RDF triplestore for BIBFRAME using Blazegraph and Fedora 4.  Finally we’ll talk about the current research plans to support lossless interoperability with BIBFRAME 2.0 and how BIBCAT and its underlying semantic server technology is being used at Colorado College to actively support libraries as linked-data producers and consumers in the semantic web.

Afternoon Break

3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. 

Building Smarter Books in Browsers with RDFa,, and Linked Data: Leveraging Standards & Tools in the Creation of Semantically-Enhanced Reading Systems


Jason A. Clark

Associate Professor and Head of Library Informatics and Computing
Montana State University Libraries

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

The library as place and service continues to be shaped by the legacy of the book. The book itself has evolved in recent years, with various technologies vying to become the next dominant book form. In this session, we'll discuss the design and development of prototype reading software from Montana State University (MSU) Library for presenting books inside of web browsers. The session will look at the contextual background and technological potential for publishing traditional book content through the web using open standards. The prototype demonstrates the application of HTML5, structured data with RDFa and markup, linked data components using JSON-LD, and an API-driven data model to create a reading systems that are "of the web". We’ll examine how this open web model impacts discovery, reading analytics, eBook production, and machine-readability for libraries considering how to unite software development and publishing. How do we build a better book, and what is the role of semantic approaches in doing so?

Pushing from Behind: Expectations and the Semantic Web ​​​​​​​


4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Publishers as content providers are increasingly involved in finding innovative approaches to surfacing as much useful information as possible for research consumers. Increasingly, the ask is that we not only provide content, but we add a greater diversity of meta data to allow increased context for analysis. For example, semantically indexing it with multiple ontological resources simplifies retrieval.  And most recently,  the ask is to have “quality” metrics around that content: researchers want to know “what can you tell me from other sources that makes me believe this experimental finding?” In this talk, Jaqui Hodgkinson VP of Product Development from Elsevier will talk about the emergent challenges in trying to help researchers navigate the ocean of data effectively.

Roundtable Discussion 

4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
Moderated by: Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Wednesday, November 25, 2015 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction email by 10AM (ET) on the Tuesday before the webinar, please contact the NISO office at for immediate assistance.
  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.
  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact to provide alternate contact information.
  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.
  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.