Linked Data is one of the most interesting and important aspects of the Semantic Web. For me, the possibilities of Linked Data is what initially interested me in learning more about the Semantic Web and how it is relevant to libraries. A couple of years ago I attended a conference focused on eResearch. Scientists have increasingly large, open datasets that they are creating, sharing and manipulating to create more indepth analysis and connections than ever before. But managing that data, linking it to other types of data and identifying sources is a major challenge. Linked Data has a major role to play here, and in other contexts, to assist this.

If you’ve had to try and set up cross-tabulated searches in some databases, such as Census data to find out how many residents in a town own bicycles and have a mortgage, Linked Data may be a way to make that easier by drawing on richer data sources and connecting them together.

So, what is Linked Data exactly? Tim Berners-Lee says,

The Semantic Web isn’t just about putting data on the web. It is about making links, so that a person or machine can explore the web of data. With linked data, when you have some of it, you can find other, related, data.

Linked Data works using URIs and RDF. Daniel Chudnov has some interesting thoughts and questions about it over at One Big Library.

Find out more about Linked Data at the ESW Wiki or take a look at the tutorial on how to publish Linked Data on the web.

Originally published on the blog