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Kent State Faculty Receive Federal Grant of More Than $219,000 to Improve Access to Digital Resources

Posted Dec. 5, 2011
enter photo description
Marcia Lei Zeng and Karen Gracy, both
faculty members in the School of
Library and Information Science, received
a grant of more than $219,000 to improve
access to digital resources.

Two faculty members in the School of Library and Information Science 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 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).

“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,” Zeng says. “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 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 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 explains. “Our primary goal for 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 will encourage all libraries, regardless of their size and technical status, to tap into the riches of Linked Open Data.

IMLS Director Susan Hildreth says, “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 has the only American Library Association-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) degree program in Ohio.  The school is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's top 20 graduate schools in the field, and the youth librarianship program is ranked 13th.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services 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 Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science, visit

For more information about the IMLS, visit