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UK Discovery Projects


SUNCAT: exploring open metadata
GoGeo Linked Data (GOLD)


Six months: February – July 2011




GOLD: Scottish Government

EDINA Contacts

  • SUNCAT: Christine Rees
  • GOLD: James Reid


Summary: GOLD

Conventional approaches to building Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) presuppose some form of 'discovery' service that provides potential users with metadata describing available datasets and services in order to expedite access and to minimise potential for duplication of effort. The widely adopted Open Geospatial Consortia (OGC) Catalogue Services for the Web (CSW) specification defines a set of abstract interfaces and a protocol binding for the discovery, access, maintenance and organisation of metadata repositories of geospatial information and related resources. CSW underpins the UK Location Programmes metadata infrastructure and examples are found in the UK academic geoportal, GoGeo, and the Scottish Government Spatial Discovery Portal.

However, CSW is arguably ill-suited to RESTful style geo-mashup APIs and the emerging linked data publishing paradigm. Essentially, there is a tension between the 'popular' less formal style discovery services which is in opposition to the more 'formal' style adopted by CSW.

The work will expose the GoGeo Catalogue and the Scottish Government Spatial Discovery Portal CSW content as a Linked Data triple store the objective of which is to improve the 'discoverability' of metadata records and the catalogues 'openess'. A range of technical approaches will be reviewed (schema cross-walking; production direct form relational databases and an UML to RDF approach), and open source software produced.

Project Deliverables: GOLD

  1. a linked data version (triple store and SPARQL endpoint) of the GoGeo geospatial metadata catalogue and linked data version of the Scottish Government Spatial Discovery Portal
  2. a summary report detailing the technical investigation strand and alternate methods of producing the linked data store

Summary: SUNCAT: exploring open metadata

SUNCAT includes serials’ information from 79 contributing libraries. In addition it contains records from the CONSER database, the ISSN Register and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). A freely accessible Z39.50 connection supports search of the full catalogue but this does not enable download of records in MARC format due to licensing restrictions. In addition a number of Z39.50 connections, available only to SUNCAT contributing libraries, offer access to a subset of the catalogue records for download in MARC format.

This project will seek to determine what must be done to extend access to the catalogue, including holdings’ information and will explore what may be done within the project timescales. This will include:

  • exploration of licensing issues
  • establishing or validating existing use cases
  • within the Resource Discovery Taskforce vision:
  • mechanisms for providing open access

The Metadata guidelines for the UK RDTF will guide this work.

Project Deliverables: SUNCAT: exploring open metadata

  • an approach to making the SUNCAT catalogue openly available for use by other services that align with the Resource Discovery Taskforce vision
  • provided agreement is reached with one or more Contributing Libraries to make their SUNCAT data available as open data, an API will be provided for use with this data
  • documentation of our exploration of the licensing and technical issues that must be addressed to achieve this

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