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IFLA Information Technology

Proposal for a Semantic Web Special Interest Group (SWSIG)

Sponsoring sections: Information Technology, Cataloguing, Classification and Indexing, Knowledge Management

Background within ITS

On the occasion of WLIC 2008 IT Section initialized activities for the noted topic the first time. Leading to a very successful conference in Florence 2009 (as part of the pre-conference program of IFLA WLIC 2009 in Milan and in cooperation with other IFLA sections) the discussion became substantially more valuable and additional actions started (e.g. with the Library Linked Data incubator group in W3C). Today our common understanding is that the Semantic Web approach and the underlying technologies are one of the important challenges for libraries, offer high potential to enhance the visibility of libraries and strengthen its relevance for the next decades.  

ITS and collaborating sections see a need for an ongoing discussion about Semantic Web and libraries in a broader scope across different approaches. In the last WLIC-conferences some of the contributions to the program - sponsored by different sections - used the Semantic Web paradigm in their presentations. But what is behind this term? How can we define Semantic Web-based library services and what about user-related services in this context? And which are the consequences of standard development in the context of the evolution of cataloguing rules and bibliographic metadata production and exchange?

IT Section has decided to set up a SIG on this ongoing topic jointly supported by the other sections. All named sections are willing to sponsor the group as a platform for different sections and to address this topic systematically. SWSIG will reflect important areas of interest of all these sections and this extended relevance is the reason why the Semantic Web topic cannot be covered by the sections as a stand-alone in their original field of activity. On the other hand the new SIG can be joined by other section members and can support interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration. Additionally we hope to attract people from outside the IFLA community.

Mission of SWSIG

Since its premises, the Semantic Web has always raised a strong interest within the library community. Now that libraries have fully entered the Web 2.0, they are facing a new challenge as they are seeking to play a major role in the Web value chain, by empowering their services in the user's flow and making their data work stronger, in a more accessible and reusable way.

Semantic Web technologies open valuable opportunities for the development of these objectives, by creating appropriate data models that will be the next generation of library metadata formats, leveraging new technologies for innovative library systems, or making high-quality level data such as authority data or thesauri available to a wider community.

However, these opportunities are still only known to a smaller community of technically experienced librarians, and the strategic importance of these topics to the library community in general has to be demonstrated. Technologies and data models are still at an immature stage, and the creation of a community of interests among professionals will be needed in order to develop and mainstream them.

Therefore the SWSIG intends to be the platform where interested professionals could gather, and undertake whatever tasks are needed to develop, enhance and facilitate the adoption of semantic Web technologies in the library community.

Goals of SWSIG

  • to foster collaboration between the Cataloguing, Classification and Indexing, Information Technology and Knowledge Management sections and other interested IFLA members and to be an open place to discuss subjects related to the topic Semantic Web and libraries, elaborate standards and guidelines and contribute to any other relevant work within and outside IFLA;
  • to strengthen and transform the professional knowledge of libraries in the Semantic Web area by providing education and information to IFLA professionals, thus contributing to IFLA's strategic plan for 2010-2015; to raise awareness among the library community about the relevance and potential of Semantic Web technologies for libraries and to provide training and workshops in order to improve the librarians’ know-how in this area;
  • to market the libraries' knowledge and know-how to other communities, seeking convergence with other cultural heritage organizations and with the actors of the Web at large, thus acting as the global voice of libraries in this field.

In order to reach these goals, the SWSIG will:

  •         organize and promote events during the IFLA Congresses (SWSIG sessions, satellite meetings, training workshops, social events);
  •         monitor ongoing projects (standards, tools, techniques) within or outside IFLA, and provide up-to-date information and reports using IFLA information and communication channels;
  •         organize specific task groups to undertake new actions when needed;
  •         bring together a community of professionals using appropriate online tools (mailing list, facebook group, twitter...).


For these reasons we ask for approval of the new Semantic Web Special Interest Group (SWSIG)

Submitted by Reinhard Altenhöner, Chair Information Technology Section, xx.xx 2010.

Signatures of people who support the proposed Semantic Web Special Interest Group (SWSIG):

Arshad Mahmood

Emmanuelle Bermès

Reinhard Altenhöner

Alenka Kavčič-Čolić

Anders Cato

Lars G. Svensson


Ed Summers

Olivier Le Deuff

Melanie Wacker

Eoghan Ó Carragáin

Glen Newton

Milena Dobreva

Rodolphe Bailly

Daniel G. Alemneh

Felix Sasaki

Joan E. Beaudoin

Gordon Dunsire

Marcia Lei Zeng

Luz M. Quiroga

Cristina Cortês

David Miller

John Hostage

Michael J. Giarlo

Markus Hennies

Karen Stone

Magdalena Svanberg

Anette Seiler

Amélie Vallotton Preisig

Genevieve Clavel

Yoonmi Chu

Martin Malmsten

Christel Hengel

Hanne Hørl Hansen

Jukka Lindeman

Jürgen Diet

Giuliana De Francesco

Edward T. O'Neill

Jodi Schneider

Antoine Isaac

donna G. Bair-Mundy

Zoran Krstulović

Peter Schwery

Patrice Landry

Günther Neher

Adrian Stevenson

Sebastian Wilke

Imma Subirats

Gudrun Johannsen

Johannes Keizer

Antonella De Robbio

Claudio Cortese

Nestor L. Osorio

Francesca Valentini

LeJenna Pierce-Price

Hasna Askhita

Thomas Baker

José Borbinha

Emad I. Saleh

Diane Le Hénaff

Francisca Hernández

Xavier Agenjo

Adina Ciocoiu

Dydimus Zengenene

Sarah Dister

Carsten H. Andersen

Mirna Willer

Xuemao Wang

Christel Mahnke

 Elena Escolano Rodríguez

Barbara Tillett

Hugh Murphy

Corey A Harper

  Rink W. Kruk

Diane Mercier

Emma Bester

Meirav Livne

Shaked Spier

Oddrun Pauline Ohren

Leda Bultrini

Leszek Śnieżko
Sofia Zapounidou

Carmen Reverté

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