Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Chapter 4: New Uses for Knowledge Bases

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Chapter 4: New Uses for Knowledge Bases

Article excerpt

The usefulness and ubiquity of knowledge base data in large research and academic libraries has led to much innovation in this space. While knowledge bases have evolved continuously since their introduction, the past five years have seen increased engagement with these tools across the field, leading to a number of exciting developments. These include new thinking about how knowledge bases are structured and the data they collect, increased used of APIs to integrate knowledge bases with new services, and trends toward greater automation and customization.

Enhanced Knowledge Base Data

The type of data found in a knowledge base has remained fairly consistent since the earliest implementations. Titles, packages, and holdings, along with their associated attributes, remain the core data elements. Recently, however, some knowledge base suppliers have begun to rethink the basics and explore enhanced data models for their knowledge bases. Two major efforts in this area include the development of a re-architected knowledge base by ProQuest and exploration of an enhanced, librarian-driven data model by the Global Open Knowledgebase (GOKb).

ProQuest's New Knowledge Base

In late 2015 ProQuest announced a new knowledge base designed to enrich its existing service, which has its roots in the original Serials Solutions knowledge base dating back to 2001. (1) Yvette Diven, product manager lead for management solutions at ProQuest, described work in four key areas for the company's knowledge base: scope, scale, systems, and services.

The scope of the ProQuest knowledge base will become more global and diverse through the inclusion of new electronic content types, including streaming audio and video titles. The new knowledge base also will feature a single data model that pulls together the traditional e-resources metadata, along with the contents of Ulrich's Periodicals Directory, authoritative information from MARC records, and article-level metadata from the Summon discovery index. The reengineered product will live in the cloud, making it more scalable. And an API will allow ProQuest to reuse this enriched metadata across all of its products and services and to share the data more widely with its customers.

Diven said that these changes will give ProQuest's customers a comprehensive view of their collections from within a single integrated product. The enriched knowledge base will also map the relationships between entities in a more sophisticated manner--making connections between, for example, an author and a title, an organization and the resources it publishes, and two journals published by the same entity. The knowledge base will also have the ability to track changes, helping users manage title and publisher changes and allowing them to see snapshot views of their collections over time. (2)

ProQuest has been gradually rolling out these changes across its existing product suite, and Diven describes the process as more of a continuum than a migration. The enhanced knowledge base was planned to be a major component of Intota, ProQuest's developing LSP. In a recent webinar, the company announced that the vision for Intota, including use of the new knowledge base, instead would be rolled into Alma, the LSP ProQuest recently took over with its acquisition of Ex Libris. (3)

GOKb's Enhanced Data Model

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(Full disclosure: I am the principal investigator of the Global Open Knowledgebase (GOKb) project, and any uncited information regarding the project in this section comes from my personal experiences.)

GOKb is a community-managed, open-source project that aims to make e-resources metadata freely available to the library community. Like ProQuest, the GOKb has been innovating in the knowledge base space by addressing the data itself. The GOKb data model has been designed with the flexibility to model a complex environment and the transparency to work openly through a community contribution model. …

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