OCLC releases FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) as Linked Data

FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology), an enumerative, faceted subject heading schema derived from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), is now available as an experimental Linked Data service and is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License.

The FAST authority file, which underlies the FAST Linked Data release, has been created through a multi-year collaboration of OCLC Research and the Library of Congress. Specifically, it is designed to make the rich LCSH vocabulary available as a post-coordinate system in a Web environment.

“Linked Data” is an approach to publishing data on the Web which enhances its utility by making references to persons, places, things, etc. more consistent and linkable across domains.

The release of FAST as Linked Data provides FAST headings that support both human and machine access. FAST incorporates links to corresponding LCSH authorities. In addition, many of the geographic headings have links to the GeoNames geographic database.

“The response to VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) as Linked Data has been very positive,” said Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, OCLC Research, and OCLC Chief Strategist. “We are now pleased to be making this very extensive resource available in this way.”

With the addition of FAST, the universe of library-oriented controlled vocabularies available as Linked Data is notably expanded. OCLC has previously released Dewey.info (http://dewey.info/), an experimental space for linked Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) data, and also made available as Linked Data the VIAF a joint project that explores combining the name authority files of participating institutions into a single name authority service. Furthermore, the Library of Congress (see for example, http://id.loc.gov/) and several other custodians of important controlled vocabularies have released Linked Data versions of their schemes.

This release of FAST is the latest in a series of activities by OCLC to make FAST more accessible and useful. OCLC Research released mapFAST, a map-oriented interface that leverages FAST to present library resources based on the geographic focus of the content of material and made available the FAST Converter, a demonstration LCSH-to-FAST conversion tool. Most recently, OCLC Research has updated its Web search interface to FAST.

More information about FAST Linked Data is at http://id.worldcat.org/fast/. View a sample record and see the FAST activity page.