An introduction to linked and open data


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Open data: why we need it

The term ‘open data’ has been bandied about quite a bit in the last couple of years, and the idea has certainly gained more momentum here in the UK in the year just gone thanks, at least in part, to some big changes by Central Government.

So, first off, what is it?
Put simply, it’s getting the data we (the public sector) collect, making it available on the web, and giving it a license that says ‘do whatever you want with it’.

What benefit is it?
There are numerous potential benefits to publishing open data:

• Increased accountability and transparency
o Citizens can more easily stay informed and so can make better decisions
o Communities can check that they are being heard

• Reduced Freedom of Information traffic
o If the data is held, it’s already online for all to see
o Traffic will either be avoided completely or will only require responses pointing to the correct datasets on the web

• Aide business and innovation
o Creative minds can utilise the data e.g. as part of web or phone apps
o Businesses can make more informed decisions about the area

What’s next?
The future is linked open data which enhances the potential of open data by giving it a defined structure. This allows for automation (because computers can understand it), easier and more open access to the data, and informative links between datasets.

For a bit more information, check out my quick (4 slide) presentation.

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An introduction to linked and open data

  1. 1. linked/open dataWHY YOU SHOULD USE IT AND WHERE YOU CAN TAKE ITPeter Jarrett
  2. 2. what is it?  Open data:  Any data that is released to the public under a suitable open licence such as the Open Government Licence  The data is allowed to be reused and redistributed for any purpose  Linked data:  As above, but the data is also structured so that it is machine readable  Data is easily interrogated and queried  Links between data give context and added value  The pinnacle of open data – 5* on Tim Berners-Lee’s scale
  3. 3. why publish open data?  Accountability/transparency  More informed citizens can make better decisions  Community can easily check their views are being heard  Reduction in FOI requests  Cost savings because all but sensitive data is already accessible  Potential to aide business & innovation  It’s the law!  At least in part, and likely to become more so  Open data strategies, white paper
  4. 4. why publish linked open data?  Increases the potential of the data  More easily reusable by businesses and the community  Added value through links to related data  Ability to pinpoint exact data values – useful for FOIs  Data kept in one place  Only 1 update required to update any number of systems built on the data  The ideal standard for open data, as set out by Tim Berners-Lee  A view echoed by central government
  5. 5. the future of linked/open data  Real-time information on the web  Pull key info from the data store – auto updating content  Applications on top of the data:  Businesses using the data as part of their commercial products  Web apps that produce more engaging visualisations of the data  Eg infographics, pie charts etc  Reporting applications for quick dataset comparison  Could be used internally to identify correlations between datasets  Integration with GIS  1 place to update the data  Can plot geographic information pulled from the data eg school locations