Change of UK government not slowing down data.gov initiative

Interesting to read Shadbolt’s take on the change of government in the UK, in the context of Linked Open Data:

This is another area in which Berners-Lee and Shadbolt are highly influential, having overseen the design and implementation of the UK’s open data portal, data.gov.uk. “The continuity of thinking on open data as we’ve transitioned between governments has been remarkable,” says Shadbolt. “In a parliamentary democracy, it’s very difficult to argue that the public doesn’t have a right to government data,” he adds.
Perhaps the next Irish Government may be able to apply some pressure to increase publication of DATA which belongs to you and me in a format in which we can actually do something useful with it.

Mind you I am reminded of previous discussion about the need for a government CIO and/or CTO in Ireland.


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Ireland and linked open data

What is the timeline for the Irish government in terms of linked open data? When you read newspapers full of stories about TD expenses, FAS waste, the objectives of An Board Snip – surely publishing data in meaningful, useful formats is part of the way forward. And it must be just one element of being a smart economy. And promoting a level of transparency (and accountability) which we crave as a society.

When I read pieces like Government Should Do its Own Data Homework by Jeni Tennison it just reminds me of the progress we need to make here in Ireland. And we have the expertise – in the IT community and, in particular, in DERI.

Perhaps there is an initiative – but I do not remember reading anything about a timeline.

Explaining linked data, RDF and SPARQL

The guys at Talis have done a good job of evengelising linked data as a concept, the basic tools and their platform. If you are new to the space then the presentation by Rob Styles (44 mins) (from the Linked Data and Libraries event on 21st July 2010) is worth watching. In particular he does a good job of explaining what RDF is (a graph data model) – as against the different ways in which you can write it down e.g. Turtle, RDFa and RDF/XML. His whiz through SPARQL gives a useful intorduction to how RDF data can be queried.

Linked open data – the newspapers getting on board

New York Times announced last week that it will provide data marked up using RDF (Resource Definition Framework).

Why is this important?

This makes the data more useful.  You can now cross reference/ correlate the NY Times information with other information available on the web e.g. DBPedia (The RDF format of Wikipedia).  You can also develop applications which can access/ process/ interpret the NY Times data – because it is provided in RDF format.

Interesting development – and makes sense of the Linked Open Data initiative.  The NY Times is embracing RDF – to some extent it is giving away its data, but on the other hand its own data is far more valuable because it can easily be combined with other (RDF’d) data.

Quite a challenge to all organisations – especially those generating significant content – who are failing to have their data leveraged properly because it sits in its own silo.

Ontologies and the challenge to IT leaders

The recent Technology Forecast publication from PwC focused on semantic web and linked data.  Interesting series of articles – and I like the concept of dealing with ‘messy data’.  CEOs and other managers want to be able to merge internal ERP type data with external data.  Also reminds readers that the I in CIO is for information – and that CIOs need to take the lead on the generation and planning of relevant ontologies – given a clear understanding of their businesses and a working knowledge of ontologies.

On the same theme interesting piece by Linda Moulton – the line ‘enterprises must commit to having very smart people with enterprise expertise to build the ontology’  rings the same bell.

Linda Moulton believs that real progress in adoption of semantic web will be seen first within entertprises, later between enterprises and across the web more generally.  Seems to make a lot of sense and be the most likely scenario – however we may prefer the more holistic soltuion to emrge immediately.

Distinguishing Web 3.0, Semantic web and Data Linking

I had commented some time ago on the differences/ advances between web 1.0, web 2.0 and web 3.0.

Earlier this month Greg Boutin published an excellent series of three postings in which he has looked at web 3,0, semantinc web and data linking in consdierable detail – in an attempt to ensure that we have a common understanding (ie get the semantics right).  His postings alos cross reference to some of his own previous postings and an excellent TED talk by Kevin Kelly.

Kelly talks about the interent becoming the ‘One’ computer – and therefore topics such as ubiquity, transparency, personalisation and globalisation.  It is a fascinating look into the future – and challenges us all to think about how we would interact with this large ‘organism’ or system.

Boutin is also very much up for the challenge and the opportunity.  However he is relatively cautious in his assessment of the situation in his third posting.  While not doubting Berners Lee, he does seem to suggest that the hype may be a little ahead of the reality – as evidenced by the lack of commercial applications exploiting linked data (there being a shortage of linked data).