Sweden to Get State-Of-The-Art Library Catalog

Within a few months, Sweden will change national catalog from the current Libris to a new catalog, named LibrisXL or nya Libris.

As end-users you will probably not see so much difference in the beginning, but for the Swedish library community this is a quite big thing.

The main benefits you will experience is much better interlinking between resources. This is because the new system is built, as the first national catalog in the world, on an organizational framework called Resource Description Framework (RDF). And in this new framework, the focus has been moved so that the relation between entities is the most important thing.

This means that we are given more possibilities to promote different things in a coherent way, in our case human rights, to a wider audience. The current publishing tool for academic material from Lund University, the Lucris system, is also based on the same design.

The standard is developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, the same organization that has developed most of the standards used on the Internet today, most prominently the www-standard, which is the de facto standard for most internet communication today.

One somewhat known database built on the principles of RDF is the Europeana, the European Union’s database for cultural and scientific heritage. This is of course on a totally different scale then what the Raoul Wallenberg Institute can do, but it still shows that by linking and adding more metadata, information about the record that doesn’t form part of the record itself, it is possible to achieve a much more interesting collection than if you only cataloged the content itself.  There are also many smaller initiatives, like the Swedish Kringla that describes the Swedish Rune stones, that are also built around the same framework.

Right now, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute library, in cooperation with the Lund University Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, is applying for money to build a small database, based on the RDF framework, over human rights literature published and written in the Middle East. This project, if funded, will be headed by Professor Mark LeVine, guest professor at the CME. The long-term goal of the project is to have cataloged all academic human rights literature published in the Middle East in modern times and put them into a context by linking them to other contemporary resources.