Thomas Thurner

Energy Buildings Performance Scenarios as Linked Open Data

The reduction of green house gas emissions is one of the big global challenges for the next decades. (Linked) Open Data on this multi-domain challenge is key for addressing the issues in policy, construction, energy efficiency, production a like. Today – on the World Environment Day 2014 – a new (linked open) data initiative contributes to this effort: GBPN’s Data Endpoint for Building Energy Performance Scenarios.

gbpn-scenariosGBPN (The Global Buildings Performance Network) provides the full data set on a recently made global scenario analysis for saving energy in the building sector worldwide, projected from 2005 to 2050. The multidimensional dataset includes parameters like housing types, building vintages and energy uses  – for various climate zones and regions and is freely available for full use and re-use as open data under CC-BY 3.0 France license.

To explore this easily, the Semantic Web Company has developed an interactive query / filtering tool which allows to create graphs and tables in slicing this multidimensional data cube. Chosen results can be exported as open data in the open formats: RDF and CSV and also queried via a provided SPARQL endpoint (a semantic web based data API). A built-in query-builder makes the use as well as the learning and understanding of SPARQL easy – for advanced users as well as also for non-experts or beginners.


The LOD based information- & data system is part of Semantic Web Companies’ recent Poolparty Semantic Drupal developments and is based on OpenLinks Virtuoso 7 QuadStore holding and calculating ~235 million triples as well as it makes use of the RDF ETL Tool: UnifiedViews as well as D2R Server for RDF conversion. The underlying GBPN ontology runs on PoolParty 4.2 and serves also a powerful domain-specific news aggregator realized with SWC’s sOnr webminer. with other Energy Efficiency related Linked Open Data Initiatives like REEEP, NREL, BPIE and others, GBPNs recent initative is a contribution towards a broader availability of data supporting action agains global warming – as also Dr. Peter Graham, Executive Director of GBPN emphasized “…data and modelling of building energy use has long been difficult or expensive to access – yet it is critical to policy development and investment in low-energy buildings. With the release of the BEPS open data model, GBPN are providing free access to the world’s best aggregated data analyses on building energy performance.”

The Linked Open Data (LOD) is modelled using the RDF Data Cube Vocabulary (that is a W3C recommendation) including 17 dimensions in the cube. In total there are 235 million triples available in RDF including links to DBpedia and Geonames – linking the indicators: years – climate zones – regions and building types as well as user scenarios….

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Andreas Blumauer

SEMANTiCS 2014: Call for Industry Presentations

SEMANTiCS 2014 will take place in Leipzig (Germany) this year from September 4-5. The International Conference on Semantic Systems will be co-located with several workshops and other meetings, e.g. the 2nd DBpedia community meeting.


SEMANTiCS conference (formerly ‘I-Semantics’) focuses on transfer and industry-related applications of semantic systems and linked data.
Here are some of the options for end-users, vendors and experts to get involved (besides participating as a regular attendee and the option to submit a paper):

  1. Submit an Industry Presentation:
  2. Sponsoring / Marketplace / Exhibition:
  3. Become a reviewer:

The organizing committee would be happy to have you on board of the SEMANTiCS 2014 in Leipzig.

Andreas Blumauer

Do you like Google’s Knowledge Graph?

Semantic Enterprise Search enters the second phase.

Finally the Knowledge Graph has arrived in Europe: What has been provided on for the US-Market since May 2012, is now available also for most European countries. Search results are no longer only a list of documents (and advertisements) but also a mashup of facts, points of interest, events etc. referring to the search phrase.

For example, if the user is searching for ‘Wiener Philharmoniker’ (‘Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’) a factbox including related searches is provided:

Do you like this rather new way of knowledge discovery? We do, except the fact that Google hasn´t properly explained to the audience which technology is behind the Knowledge Graph which is the Web of Linked Data aka the Semantic Web (Do you want to know more about the relationship between the Knowledge Graph and Linked Data? Click here).

But anyway, here are some benefits we can see, if search technologies make use of a ‘knowledge graph’, a ‘knowledge model’, a ‘thesaurus’ or generally spoken: Linked Data.

  • Facts around an object (or an entity) can be found nicely packed up to a dossier
  • Serendipity can be stimulated by ‘related searches’ which means: Users can discover the formely ‘unknown’ in a more comfortable way
  • Data from various sources can be pulled together to a mashup (e.g. ‘upcoming events’ could come from a different database than the basic facts of Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Search phrases are well understood by the engine since they are based on concepts and not anymore on literals, e.g. if the user searches for ‘Red Bull Stratos’, also results for ‘Felix Baumgartner’ will be delivered
  • Search can be refined, e.g. if one searches for ‘Vienna’, a list of POIs will be displayed to refine the actual place the user is looking for

Now imagine you would have a search engine in your company’s intranet based on a knowledge graph which is about the enterprise you are working for.

Such an advanced search application would look like this:

  • Data streams and all kind of content from internal sources are nicely mashed with information from the web (e.g. from Twitter, Youtube etc.)
  • Search assistants are provided to help users to refine their information needs to make them more specific
  • Entities and their sub-concepts (e.g. subsidiaries of large companies or regions of countries) are nicely packed together to one dossier

The key question now is: “how to set up a customised knowledge graph for a certain company?”.

Corporate Semantic Web based applications can be realised on top of software platforms like PoolParty. They all have a customised knowledge graph in their core. This is always the basis for concept-based indexing of specialised content from a corporate intranet. The basic standard for this is SKOS which can be used together with advanced query languages like SPARQL. Such graphs can be used for semantic indexing but also to ask for relations like ‘is point-of-interest in’, ‘is event of’, ‘is related search for’ etc. This is the next-generation semantic search which help decision-makers, information professionals and all kind of knowledge workers to improve their work significantly.
One comfortable way to create customised knowledge graphs is to make use of Linked Data sources like Freebase (like Google does) or DBpedia. More details wanted? Take a look at the PoolParty approach for efficient knowledge modeling.
Thomas Thurner

Wolters Kluwer Deutschland is publishing 2 legal thesauri as Linked Open Data

Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH (WKD) publishes two legal thesauri as Linked Open Data for free re-use by public administrations, industry and the Open Data community

(Munich, 12.07.2012, WKD) From today on, two thesauri (controlled vocabularies) covering juridical/legal topics are provided for free re-use as Linked Open Data: One thesaurus is covering topics around labor law in German language, while the other one describes German and European courts. Both vocabularies can be accessed at:

Labor law thesaurus covers all main areas of labor law, like the roles of employee and employer; legal aspects around labor contracts and dismissal; also co-determination and industrial action. Therefore, this thesaurus is interesting and relevant for all parties, who are dealing with labor law – professionals like specialized lawyers as well as for employees looking for definitions of legal terms. Linking to thematically similar thesauri (Linked Open Data paradigm) has already taken place and is therefore available as well.

Courts thesaurus is structuring German and European courts in a hierarchical fashion and includes e.g. address information. This thesaurus is not only dedicated to parties interested in legal matters, but also to developers developing geo data applications. Information concerning courts and their roles and responsibilities can become an interesting aspect of many applications in the future.

Publication of these data sets as Open Data is motivated by many reasons. In particular two major directions should be mentioned here: first is to help our customers with their information overload and the other one is to support activities in the OGD (Open Government Data) community.

The creation of legal vocabularies is far from being a trivial thing and there are hardly any resources available in German language. By making these thesauri publicly available, we want to support especially administrations to classify and structure their internal data, in order to easily connect this data to relevant WKD legal resources afterwards (Interoperability of data). The Community on the other hand is very active in some domains, but unfortunately very reluctant when it comes to legal topics. Our aim here is to give initial support in order to create awareness, that also with this data it is possible to create highly interesting and relevant applications. In the end, all interested parties have to work together in a collaborative fashion, in order to bring transparency to the diversity and sheer amount of legal information – this is not possible within insular silos of applications and isolated approaches.

With this effort, Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH is becoming part of the global Open Data movement, which is also heavily promoted by the European Commission, in order to strengthen Europe as an industrial location.

License models used here (like Creative Commons, CC-BY 3.0 for the contents) are as open as possible, in order to have available a real basis for further development in a collaborative fashion.

This commitment also implies next steps: both thesauri will be communicated to different target groups and the resulting discussions will hopefully generate many new requirements and concrete models for collaboration.

Facts and Figures

Licenses of WKD thesauri

  • Data is licensed using ‘Creative Commons Namensnennung 3.0 Deutschland (CC BY 3.0)’ License.
  • Data model is licensed using ‘ODBL’ License.
  • Links to external sources are licensed using a ‘CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication’ License.

Published as Linked Open Data (LOD)

WKD Thesauri are linked with

Programming interfaces as API / SPAQRL endpoints available at:

Used software tool

PoolParty Thesaurus Management Suite (

Both thesauri are described in ADMS format

coming from the European Commission, in order to be easily re-used in e-government services:

This project was implemented in a partnership between

Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH (, Semantic Web Company Wien ( and the FP7 Project LOD2 (

for more information you may contact

Christian Dirschl
Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH (WKD)
Freisinger Strasse 3
D-85716 Unterschleißheim