Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Open data and linked data

Paul Miller, Linked Data - the real Semantic Web? Nodalities, May 22, 2007.  (Thanks to Peter Murray-Rust.)  Excerpt:

It has been interesting to follow the rise of the 'Linked Data' meme in the Semantic Web community recently, and to track it alongside longer term (but quieter) mutterings around 'Open Data' from the likes of Tim O'Reilly and XTech programme committees past and present.

The recent push is due in no small part, I believe, to the sterling efforts of the Linking Open Data community, and to the support they've been receiving from W3C's Semantic Web Education & Outreach (SWEO) group, of which I'm a rather quiet member.

Listening to Tim Berners-Lee's keynote in Banff a week or so back, there was a strong steer toward 'Linked Data', and the opportunities presented by the relationships between resources and the aggregate of those resources. This thread came up again and again, most notably in the Linked/Open Data sessions. Thinking about it again, the whole Linked Data thrust actually comes across as a far more compelling way to describe the value of the Semantic Web to the non-geek audience....

If the Web of Data is the target, of course, the thorny issue of to whom the data belong, and the ways in which the data may be used, come to the fore once more. This is an area we've been tackling with contributions such as the Talis Community License, and it came up in Rob's contribution in Banff [Rob's audio here, PDF of everyone's slides here], as well as papers from both of us at XTech last week....

One conversation from last week that has carried over onto email this week was with Rufus Pollock of the Open Knowledge Foundation. They don't have a license, but they do usefully define a set of principles to underpin the notion of 'open knowledge', and they explicitly include the separate notion of data....

We're seeing movement as a growing body of implementors, commentators and analysts recognise the potential of linking disparate data resources together, leveraging some of the more basic capabilities of RDF and other Semantic Web enabling technologies. We're also seeing a matching awareness of the need to protect use of those data sets (and not merely to safeguard the interests of data owners, but also - and far more tellingly - to give confidence to data aggregators and users), and a refreshing willingness to engage openly and cooperatively in reaching a pragmatic solution. It's a great time to be involved in this space, and Talis looks forward to playing our full part across the piece.