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Free Data Services

Latest update:

Users can choose from the following options:

  1. Linked Open BNB
  2. Basic RDF/XML
  3. MARC21 via Z39.50
  4. BNB New Titles - Weekly Files (PDF and basic RDF/XML)

1. Linked Open BNB

Background

The British Library is developing a version of the British National Bibliography which it is making available as Linked Open Data via a TSO platform.

The initial offering includes published books (including monographs published overtime) and serial publications, with future releases extending coverage to include multipart works, integrating resources (e.g. loose leaf publications), kits and forthcoming publications.

Data Model, Schema and URI patterns

The data model for books is available here. [PDF format 129 KB]
[version 1.4, August 2012]

The data model for serials is available here. [PDF format 132 KB]
[version 1.0, August 2012]

The latest version of the schema has been published here.
The namespace declaration for this schema is xmlns:blt="http://www.bl.uk/schemas/bibliographic/blterms#"

All British Library URIs start with HTTP and are within the domain bnb.data.bl.uk. The full list of patterns used is available here. [PDF format 14 KB]

Access to the Linked Open BNB

The subset of the British National Bibliography, covering books and serials published or distributed in the UK since 1950, is currently available at:

Search service: bnb.data.bl.uk
SPARQL editor: bnb.data.bl.uk/flint
SPARQL endpoint: bnb.data.bl.uk/sparql

RDF/XML sample files are available here.

Bulk downloads in RDF/XML and N-Triples are available.

This subset of approximately 2.8 million records generated 93,583,853 triples.

These files are distributed under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication licence. For further details about our terms and conditions, please see here.

Data is described using properties from the following vocabularies:
Bibliographic Ontology
Bio: A Vocabulary for Biographical Information
British Library Terms
Dublin Core
Event Ontology
FOAF: Friend of a Friend
ISBD
Org: An Organization Ontology
OWL
SKOS
RDF Schema
WGS84 Geo Positioning
and the preliminary version of RDA

Links to the following linked open data sources have been provided:
VIAF
LCSH
Lexvo
GeoNames (for country of publication)
MARC country and language codes
Dewey.info
RDF Book Mashup

Current Status

The current offering represents a work in progress.

At this time, the dataset is not guaranteed to be stable; its contents may change at any time without warning as a part of ongoing development

It is our intention to refresh the dataset on a regular basis.

We welcome feedback on work to date. Please let us know what you think by contacting us by email at metadata@bl.uk

Further background on the approach taken to create the Linked Open BNB can be found here.

2. Basic RDF/XML

As part of its work to open its metadata to wider use beyond the traditional library community, the British Library is making copies of some of its datasets available for research purposes. Files are initially being made available in a basic RDF/XML representation and are distributed under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication licence. For further details about our terms and conditions, please see here.

  • BNB

The basic RDF/XML representation is documented in this mapping table (PDF format 68 KB). The full dataset is available for download. We intend to upload a refresh monthly.

  • Journal articles

The British Library is currently examining options for making subject specific article metadata (e.g. Biotechnology) available for projects in a similar manner. Sample files covering the topics of Palaeontology and Crystallography are now available for comment here.

Those datasets are also available from the Data Hub and via FTP. Please send your request to metadata@bl.uk.

Please note: these versions of the datasets are structured using a more basic form of RDF/XML (e.g. they do not contain URIs) and are not primarily intended for use in a linked data environment.

3. MARC21 via Z39.50

Access to either the British Library's full catalogue of its collections or the British National Bibliography in MARC 21. Users are required to register for the service and agree that any usage will be strictly for non-commercial purposes, such as:

  • Resource discovery
  • Learning, teaching, academic and scientific research or private study
  • Cataloguing or acquisition
  • Provision of information solely about the registered library’s holdings for inclusion in a union catalogue or library inter-lending database
  • Verification of bibliographic information and/or identification of materials for order via interlibrary loan, from document vendors or from other sources from which materials identified may be purchased or otherwise acquired

Please see the full terms and conditions - if you can agree to these, please contact metadata@bl.uk to confirm that you accept them. We will then register you and send out connection details along with a username and password.

In order to access our Z39.50 databases you will need to use a Z39.50 client - these are incorporated in commercial Library Management Systems, or you can choose to install a standalone client such as:

Configuration server settings are also available to assist in setting up connections.

If you just need to access our catalogues online, please go direct to a comprehensive list of available catalogues.

Follow the latest developments about our data services on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BLMetadata or follow BLMetadata.


For further information please contact:

The British Library
Metadata Services
Boston Spa, Wetherby
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BQ
United Kingdom

Email: metadata@bl.uk

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