Linked data - the long and winding road
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Linked data - the long and winding road



A presentation at the ISKO UK One-day Workshop, Linked Data: the Future for Knowledge Organisation on the Web.

A presentation at the ISKO UK One-day Workshop, Linked Data: the Future for Knowledge Organisation on the Web.



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  • I’ve invented a new Batman villain. His name is “The Modeller” and his scheme is to model Gotham city entirely accurately in a way that is of no practical value to anybody. He has an OWL which sits on his shoulder which has the power to absorb huge amounts of time and energy....Over the 3 issues there’s a running subplot about The Modeller's master weapon, the FRBR, which everyone knows is very very powerful but when the citizens of Gotham talk about it none of them can quite agree on exactly what it does....While unpopular with the fans, issue two, “Batman vs the Protégé“, will later be hailed as a Kafkaesque masterpiece. Batman descends further into madness as he realises that every moment he’s the Batman of that second in time, and each requires a URI, and every time he considers a plan of action, the theoretical Batmen in his imagination also require unique distinct identifiers which he must assign before continuing.

Linked data - the long and winding road Linked data - the long and winding road Presentation Transcript

  • Linked Data – the long and winding road
    Andy Powell, Eduserv
    Linked Data – the future of knowledge organisation on the Web, London
    14 Sept 2010
  • today’s topic...
    Linked Data: the future of knowledge organisation on the Web
    ...pre-supposes that Linked Data is the future of the Web
    and for that to be true, we have to understand the challenges we face in making it a reality
  • a story
    about the history of the Dublin Core initiative
    and what that history tells us about the challenges for Linked Data
    it’s a largely non-technical story (superficial?)
  • about me...
    long association with both Dublin Core
    and RDF
    more immersed in former than latter
    member of both the DC Usage Board and the Advisory Board
    previous chair of the
    DC Architecture WG
    lead author of the original
    DCMI Abstract Model
  • 15
    What is DC?
    Dublin Core (DC) is a metadata standard that provides a vocabulary for describing the "core" attributes of resources, most often in the context of resource discovery on the Web
    • ~60 properties and classes within well curated vocabulary maintenance environment
    • declared using RDF/RDFS
  • how did we get here?
    work on DC started in 1995 with 12 (later 15) ‘metadata elements’
    remember what the web was like in 1995?
    a library approach to resource discovery
    descriptive records embedded into web pages – using the HTML ‘meta’ tag
    a focus on ‘document like objects’
  • what impact has that had on DC?
  • a record centric approach
    shipping records from A to B
    and the ‘record’ as mechanism for tracking provenance
    • broad semantics
    • 15 ‘fuzzy buckets’
    a hang-over from days of library catalogue card – on which notes could be written?
  • flat-world modelling
    1:1 principle - the principle whereby related but conceptually different entities, for example a painting and a digital image of the painting, are described by separate metadata records
    c.f. use of dc:creator in practice
  • Strings vs. things
  • little abstraction of the model
    ...from the ‘syntax’
    actually little shared understanding of the underlying model
  • addition of the model
    firstly using the analogy of a language ‘grammar’
    then thru the development of the ‘Dublin Core Abstract Model’
    then thru the addition of the ‘Application Profile’
    essentially the RDF model
  • what have been the challenges of bringing the RDF model to the DC community?
  • Selling an ‘open world’ view...
    selling an open-world view
  • the ‘http’ URI problem
    the ‘http’ URI problem
  • modelling...
  • so...
    my contention is that if Linked Data has a role to play in the future of knowledge organisation
    then Linked Data must be successful on the Web
    and that means that RDF must be successful on the Web
  • DC brings a useful vocabulary of ‘core’ properties and classes
  • the history of DC helps us understand the challenges:
    • easing the pain of modelling
    • understanding http URIs and how they can be managed
    • working within an ‘open world’ view
  • also that DC brings some important functional requirements to the Linked Data (RDF) world
    • ‘boundedness’ (graphs, named graphs, records) particularly to support provenance
    • ‘constraints’ on those bounded graphs to support communities of practice
  • Thank you
    Thank you
    Richard Parmiter
    Justin Marty
    Eric M Martin
    ...all at Flickr
    Images by...
    Vermin Inc
    Jessie Reeder