Presentation (PDF)

Name of presenters: Fredrik Klingwall, Niklas Lindström, Markus Sköld

About the presenters:

All three presenters are system developers at the National Library of Sweden and have been heavily involved in upgrading the Libris systems for several years.

Fredrik Klingwall – focusing on usability and the application of data in user interfaces.

Niklas Lindström – focusing on data structure and linking using models, definitions and services.

Markus Sköld – focusing on the architecture and integration of services and infrastructure.

Intended audience:

Cataloguing and format experts, data managers, systems librarians, developers and decision makers.


This presentation will touch on both technical and organisational challenges in changing existing automated and manual workflows. We will share thoughts and insights from our experience of working the past four years with LIBRIS XL, the upgrade of the core system architecture of the Swedish union catalogue Libris from MARC21 to RDF (Linked data). We’ll consider the viewpoints of infrastructure design, data-modeling and the needs of our various users, in their roles as producers of data and/or consumers thereof.

Library standards continue to proliferate, and do not in themselves ensure effective application. By aligning and adapting these practises and standards to modern tooling and other structured sources on the web, we can reduce the technical idiosyncrasies, convoluted notions and untraceable copying that renders more and more library data stale and irrelevant. But that is not sufficient in itself. New methods and structures such as REST and RDF need to be as embraced and understood as once Z39.50 and MARC was, followed by RPC and XML. Otherwise, the application of the new will mimic the old, lacking features of interlinking, delegation, simpler discovery and reuse. Thus losing the relative advantage over what’s being replaced.

It’s fairly accepted that MARC does not properly represent “what we want”, but getting into the details of who wants what, and, crucially, how, cannot be properly answered without experience, trial-and-error, and the consolidation of multiple perspectives and patterns. Balancing acute problems with time taken to learn by doing, and teach through examples. Only in so doing, can we concretely describe the actual problems and needs we are trying to address.