Andreas Blumauer

The LOD cloud is dead, long live the trusted LOD cloud

The ongoing debate around the question whether ‘there is money in linked data or not’ has now been formulated more poignantly by Prateek Jain (one of the authors of the original article) recently: He is asking, ‘why linked open data hasn’t been used that much so far besides for research projects?‘.

I believe there are two reasons (amongst others) for the low uptake of LOD in non-academic settings which haven’t been discussed in detail until today:

1. The LOD cloud covers mainly ‘general knowledge‘ in contrast to ‘domain knowledge

Since most organizations live on their internal knowledge which they combine intelligently with very specific (and most often publicly available) knowledge (and data), they would benefit from LOD only if certain domains were covered. A frequently quoted ‘best practice’ for LOD is that portion of data sets which is available at Bio2RDF. This part of the LOD cloud has been used again and again by the life sciences industry due to its specific information and its highly active maintainers.

We need more ‘micro LOD clouds’ like this.

Another example for such is the one which represents the German Library Linked Open Data Cloud (thanks to Adrian Pohl for this pointer!) or the Clean Energy Linked Open Data Cloud:

reegle-lod-cloud

I believe that the first generation of LOD cloud has done a great job. It has visualised the general principles of linked data and was able to communicate the idea behind. It even helped – at least in the very first versions of it – to identify possibly interesting data sets. And most of all: it showed how fast the cloud was growing and attracted a lot of attention.

But now it’s time to clean up:

A first step should be to make a clear distinction between the section of the LOD cloud which is open and which is not. Datasets without licenses should be marked explicitly, because those are the ones which are most problematic for commercial use, not the ones which are not open.

A second improvement could be made by making some quality criteria clearly visible. I believe that the most important one is about maintenance and authorship: Who takes responsibility for the quality and trustworthiness of the data? Who exactly is the maintainer?

This brings me to the second and most important reason for the low uptake of LOD in commercial applications:

2. Most datasets of the LOD cloud are maintained by a single person or by nobody at all (at least as stated on datahub.io)

Would you integrate a web service which is provided by a single, maybe private person into a (core-)application of your company? Wouldn’t you prefer to work with data and services provided by a legal entity which has high reputation at least in its own knowledge domain? We all know: data has very little value if it’s not maintained in a professional manner. An example for a ‘good practice’ is the integrated authority file provided by German National Library. I think this is a trustworthy source, isn’t it? And we can expect that it will be maintained in the future.

It’s not the data only which is linked in a LOD cloud, most of all it’s the people and organizations ‘behind the datasets’ that will be linked and will co-operate and communicate based on their datasets. They will create on top of their joint data infrastructure efficient collaboration platforms, like the one in the area of clean energy – the ‘Trusted Clean Energy LOD Cloud‘:

reegle.info trusted links

REEEP and its reegle-LD platform has become a central hub in the clean energy community. Not only data-wise but also as an important cooperation partner in a network of NGOs and other types of stakeholders which promote clean energy globally.

Linked Data has become the basis for more effective communication in that sector.

To sum up: To publish LOD which is interesting for the usage beyond research projects, datasets should be specific and trustworthy (another example is the German labor law thesaurus by Wolters Kluwer). I am not saying that datasets like DBpedia are waivable. They serve as important hubs in the LOD cloud, but for non-academic projects based on LOD we need an additional layer of linked open datasets, the Trusted LOD cloud.

 

Martin Kaltenböck

Linked (Open) Data has reached the European Publishing Industry – but is it the ‘Real Linked Data’ – a short review on the Publishers’ Forum 2013

Invited by Helmut von Berg, Director at Klopotek & Partner (Klopotek is THE European vendor for publishing production software) I had the chance to participate and speak at this years Publishers’ Forum 2013 at the Concorde Hotel in Berlin on 22nd to 23rd of April 2013.

Coming from the semantic web / linked (open) data community to this publishing industry event with about 320 participants (mainly decision makers) from small to huge publishers all across Europe made me really curious in the forefront of the Forum – what would be the most important issues for innovative publishing processes, what would be the hypes and hopes of a sector that is in the middle of a big change: coming from paper publishing straight into the world of our todays’ data economy?

And  then in Berlin, Monday morning – the big surprise: already the opening keynotes by David Worlock, Outsell, UK (Title of Talk: The Atomization of Everything) and Dan Pollock, Nature Publishing Group, UK (Title of Talk: Networked Publishing is Open for Business) mentioned topics as the Semantic Web, Linked (Open) Data and even RDF and Triple Stores – last but not least pointing out that the content of publishers needs to be atomized down to the ‘data level’ and then can to be used successfully for new and innovative business models to serve existing and future customers…

D-Worlock_PublishersForum2013_Keynote
David Worlock ‘singing my song’ at the Publishers’ Forum 2013

As I participated in the European Data Forum 2013 (EDF2013) just a few days before the Publishers’ Forum my first thought was: WOW – publishers today have arrived in modern data economy (following already the data value chain)! And I enjoyed talking to David Worlock in the coffee break telling him my thoughts and that I will manage a workshop about ‘Enterprise Terminology as a basis for powerful semantic services for publishers’ in the afternoon that day (see slides on slideshare) and his answer was ‘Yes Martin, it seems that I was singing your song’.

The following 1.5 days of the Publishers’ Forum 2013 were full of presentations, workshops and discussions about innovative publishing processes, new business models for publishers and innovative approaches and services – full of terms that are well known by myself like: meta data management, semantics, contextualisation and very very often: Big Data and Linked (Open) Data…..and I listened very carefully to all of this – and at some point it was clear: this discussion needs to be evaluated more carefully – because many of talks and presentations were using the above mentioned terms, principles and technologies only as marketing buzz words – but taking a deeper look showed: there is no semantic web technology in place?!

Hey, Linked Data does NOT mean to establish something like a relation / a link between ‘an Author and a publication’ inside of a repository / a database – Linked (Open) Data is a well established and specified methodology using W3C semantic web standards:

Tim Berners-Lee outlined four principles of linked data in his Design Issues: Linked Data as follows:

  • Use URIs to denote things.
  • Use HTTP URIs so that these things can be referred to and looked up (“dereferenced”) by people and user agents.
  • Provide useful information about the thing when its URI is dereferenced, leveraging standards such as RDF*, SPARQL.
  • Include links to other related things (using their URIs) when publishing data on the Web.

Please read in more detail here:

As being a bit like an evangelist for Linked (Open) Data I think such a hype can be very dangerous for the publishing industry – because I see a very strong need for these companies to go for innovative content- and data management approaches very quickly to ensure competitiveness today as well as competitive advantage tomorrow – but not using the respective standards (means: only having the packaging and marketing brochures branded with it) cannot fulfill the hopes in the mid- and the long term!

Thereby I would like to point out here that ‘Linked Data’ seems not always to be ‘Linked Data’ – and I would like to strongly recommend to take a look at the well proven standards – and when selecting IT consultants and IT vendors (means: your IT partners – also a very interesting message taken home from the Forum: that publishers and IT vendors should co-operate more closely in the future in the form of sustainable partnerships) to ensure that these partners really have worked already and are working continuously with these standards and mechanisms!

C-Dirschl_PublishersForum2013_Terminology-Workshop

Christian Dirschl (Wolters Kluwer) presenting the
WKD Use Case on Enterprise Terminologies

Btw. I had a great workshop on Monday afternoon together with Christian Dirschl from Wolters Kluwer Germany (WKD) discussing applications on top of enterprise terminologies (controlled vocabularies using real linked (open) data principles). And: The Semantic Web Company (SWC) is already a partner of the publisher WKD – and this partnership seems to become a more and more fruitful and sustainable one every day – using real linked (open) data…

Martin Kaltenböck

GBPN Knowledge Platform using Semantic Technologies and Linked Open Data launched

The brand new web based GBPN Knowledge Platform has been launched on 21 February 2013. It helps the building sector effectively reduce its impact on climate change!

It has been designed as a participative knowledge hub and data hub harvesting, sharing and curating best practice policies in building energy performance globally. Available in English and soon in Mandarin, this new web-based tool of the Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) aims to stimulate collective research and analysis from experts worldwide to promote better decision-making and help the building sector effectively reduce its impact on climate change. To sustain and accelerate change in the building sector, the GBPN encourages open and transparent access to good quality and verifiable data. The data can be used and re-used in HTML, PDF and machine readable raw data (CSV) formats – provided by a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 3.0 FR) license.

The GBPN Knowledge Platform is built on Drupal CMS and seamless connected with the PoolParty Semantic Information Management Platform of Semantic Web Company. Thereby this knowledge platform makes use of semantic technologies and Linked Open Data (LOD) principles and techniques under the hood. A lot of the available data of the various GBPN tools is provided as (linked) open data under a Creative Commons Attribution license. The Semantic Web Company is responsible for conceptual design and technical implementation of the GBPN Knowledge Platform.

As follows an overview and description of the most important features, tools and services of the information management system.

Continue reading

Thomas Thurner

Revealing Trends and Insights in Online Hiring Market Using Linking Open Data Cloud

How a business-related application that exploits open-data may look like is presented to the Semantic Web Challenge 2012 by Amar-Djalil Mezaour, Julien Law-To, Robert Isele, Thomas Schandl (SWC) and Gerd Zechmeister (SWC). The paper describes a prototypic linked data application for the Online Hiring Market.

”Active Hiring” is a search based application providing analytics on on-line job posts. This application uses services from the LOD cloud to disambiguate, geotag and interlink data entities acquired from on-line job boards web sites and provides a demonstration of the usefulness of linked open data in business setting.

from Active Hiring a Use Case Study, Paper, 2012

The search based application that combines semantic technologies and services to produce Human Resources (HR) analytics and highlight major trends on online hiring market. So Active Hiring is a demonstration of the benefit of combining open data sets and services with semantic tools as a support technology for increasing the accuracy of business applications. The Active Hiring demonstrator has been developed within the activities of the European project LOD2.

Full paper: Revealing Trends and Insights in Online Hiring Market Using Linking Open Data Cloud: Active Hiring a Use Case Study (PDF)

Enhanced by Zemanta