30 Jun 2016

Here is an experiment that I have not yet had the opportunity to try out but I am fairly confident would work...

Guest post by Gerard Gregory

If you Google a concert venue or search for it on Google Maps it will display information about the venue in a Knowledge Graph card. Aside from basic information like contact details, opening hours and location the most useful cards also include information on upcoming events. Libraries have the potential to do the same. You can look up the example of the New York Public Library.

Making event listings available to Google is low-hanging fruit in terms of library marketing. Libraries are prolific when it comes to event hosting. You could go to see the Ruzbihan Qur’an exhibition at the Chester Beatty Library, join a chess club in Cork or practice Tai Chi in DĂșn Laoghaire. If libraries supplied authoritative, structured linked data about their events, much in the same way that they do about their collections, it may well improve the discoverability of a hugely important service.

There are three ways that you can mark up event listings:
1.    Rely on a ticketing service, e.g. Ticketmaster (which is not always going to be an option)
2.    Embed event data type markup directly to the event listings
3.    Use a markup-compatible events plugin or widget on your website

Regardless of the surface approach the basic activity is the same: you are feeding Google structured data that it can use. Google recommends JSON-LD. JSON-LD tags the parts of the website that are important to Google’s Knowledge Graph. With JSON-LD the markup is placed inside a script tag in the head of the HTML page, which makes it relatively easy for humans to use. The script tag looks like the outline presented here.


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