The 2015 Library Edition of the Horizon Report relates with this astonishing fact: popular search engines can only touch about 10% of the Internet; the remaining 90% are websites that are not indexed currently because most of this data is located in library catalogs in formats that cannot be searched or is guarded in secure areas that cannot be accessed by bots (p. 42).  The crux of the Libhub Initiative is about surfacing the hidden content in library catalogs. The Libhub Initiative is a place to share information about making this content visible on the Web.

We would like to draw your attention to what the 2015 report says about the speed by which this content might be made visible. It predicts that in two to three years, there will be widespread adoption of the semantic web and linked data in academic and research libraries.  [FYI, the semantic web infers the meaning of information on the Internet using metadata to make connections and display related information that would otherwise be elusive.] The New Media Consortium uses its Horizon Report to forecast how quickly certain technology will be adopted in academic and research libraries.

The report cites the power of linked data to “create an unobstructed way for students and researchers to find and connect with meaningful and relevant information, derived from as many credible sources as possible.”  It concludes that libraries are in “a unique position to benefit from the increased exposure the contextualization that semantic tools offer.” The report continues, “Library catalogs can increase access to valuable resources if their metadata is an interoperable part of the semantic web and not siloed in separate ontologies and databases.”

Intrigued? If you would like to dig deeper, turn to the report (p. 43) for examples of the semantic web and linked data in practice in academic and research library settings around the world. It also recommends articles and resources.

Joan K. Lippincott of the Center for Networked Information shared the following summary of some of the report’s other findings:

"Increasing the Value of the User Experience" and "Prioritization of Mobile Content and Delivery" are key short-term impact trends driving changes in academic and research libraries over the next one to two years. The "Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record" and "Increasing Focus on Research Data Management" are mid-term impact trends expected to accelerate technology use in the next three to five years; and "Increasing Accessibility of Research Content" and "Rethinking Library Spaces" are long-term impact trends, anticipated to impact libraries for the next five years or more. 

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