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Kent State SLIS faculty receive federal grant for $219,000+ to improve access to digital resources

Posted Nov. 21, 2011
Two faculty members in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University, Professor Marcia Lei Zeng, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor Karen Gracy, Ph.D., have received a National Leadership Grant in the amount of $219,386 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The funds will be used to help improve access to digital resources within and beyond the library world through what is known as “Linked Open Data (LOD).”

Marcia Lei Zeng“With Linked Data technologies, libraries can efficiently reach a much wider range and more diverse data universe, and more effectively provide services to their users. Libraries can enhance their existing digital collections and services with linked data technologies and LOD resources without significantly increasing the library’s workload or requiring them to reengineer their existing bibliographic databases and websites,” Zeng said. 

Zeng and Gracy’s project will develop effective strategies and prototype tools to help libraries and museums connect to the unfamiliar data and metadata resources in the LOD world. In particular, their research will address the question of how libraries can benefit from resources that have been made available in the Linked Open Data (LOD) universe.

“In this project, Dr. Zeng and I will be aligning metadata terms from different and diverse namespaces, which means that we will be analyzing semantic relationships among many different metadata schemas to identify areas of overlap and degrees of similarity,” Gracy explained. “Our primary goal foKaren Gracyr this study will be the development and testing of a tool, the Metadata Vocabulary Junction, that will help librarians and archivists understand unfamiliar metadata schemas and discover new data sources. These librarians will then be able to help users discover and use the rich information found in the Linked Open Data universe by following the paths that we will be creating through the M-V Junction."

The resulting resource thus will encourage all libraries, regardless of their size and technical status, to tap into the riches of Linked Open Data.

IMLS Director Susan Hildreth said, “We look forward to much exciting work from this round of [National Leadership Grant] awards, including projects that will support learning and 21st-century skills relevant to a new generation of digital natives, enhanced access and ability to interact with digital content, and providing innovative services for existing and new types of library and museum users. We believe that each of these grants will advance the museum, library, and archive professions through new research and the creation and dissemination of innovative tools, models, and activities that can be shared broadly."

Kent State University's School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) has the only American Library Association-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) degree program in Ohio. SLIS is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation's top 20 graduate schools in the field, and the youth librarianship program is ranked 13th. For more information about the school, visit http://www.kent.edu/slis.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. For more information about the IMLS, visit http://www.imls.gov/.

CONTACT:
Flo Cunningham, M.A.
Marketing Communications and Public Relations Director
330-672-0003
fcunning@kent.edu

Karen Gracy, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
330-672-0049
kgracy@kent.edu

Marcia Lei Zeng, Ph.D. Professor
330-672-0009
mzeng@kent.edu