Peter Rolla

active 5 years, 10 months ago



Peter Rolla

Twitter handle

Short Bio

As a bibliophile since childhood, my career as a librarian was probably inevitable, although the route to get here was somewhat twisted. My interest in literature and languages first led me into a Ph.D. program in literature, but I ultimately decided that I did not want to be a producing scholar and that making information and resources available to others interested me more than writing literary criticism. Thus a work-study job in the college library turned into a career. I have worked in academic libraries, mostly as a cataloger, for about 15 years. Although most of my work has involved traditional library materials (books) and traditional library tasks (MARC cataloging), on the fringes I have always been attracted to and experimented with new ways to harness technology for our work. I dipped my toes into the waters of taxonomies and ontologies, and learned a little about natural language processing and subject tagging. And now I’m interested in exploring how linked open data can improve the description of and access to library materials.

In my current position I manage the cataloging, acquisitions, and metadata functions of Countway Library at Harvard Medical School. I am also currently the chair of Cataloging and Classification: Description and Access (CC:DA), the committee of the American Library Association that sets policy on descriptive cataloging.

Interest in LODLAM

I am interested in learning more about efforts to convert MARC data to linked open data, and also would like to know if anyone is creating bibliographic information directly as linked data. I would be interested in possibly collaborating with other libraries or cultural institutions involved in similar projects.


Library, Sciences, Academic

Linked Open Data Projects

Currently I am spearheading a project called Blink, which is working on exposing the metadata of the digital resources at the Countway Library as linked open data. We have set up a prototype with a small set of test records that have been converted from MARC to RDF. We have not developed a public display site yet, but here are some relevant links (we created the user i.d. "lodlam" with the password also "lodlam" for you to access them): To see our set of 20 test records, after logging in click on "Browse People & Resources at my institution" then click any of the three links in the left column under "Browse Resources."

Our sparql endpoint can be accessed at

And the data model is at:


Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University