Linked Data and Libraries: Richard Wallis

A year on from the first Talis Linked Data and Libraries meeting – a lot has happened. The W3C has a group on ‘linked data and libraries’; the BL has released a load of records as RDF/XML – brave decision; Richard went to meeting where in Denmark there was discussion about trying to persuade publishers to release metadata; Europeana Linked Data now available; parts of French National Catalogue etc. etc.

While it may feel that progress is slow – people are getting out there and ‘just doing it’ as Lynne Brindley just suggested.

Talis – started pioneering in Semantic Web/Linked Data areas. Recently the Library Systems Division has been sold to Capita – allow it to focus on libraries, while ‘Talis’ is going forward with focus on linked data/semantic web.

Now Talis is made up of:

Talis Group – core technologies/strategy – run the Talis Platform
Talis Education – applications in academia – offer the Talis Aspire product (for ‘reading lists’ in Universities)
Talis Systems Ltd – Consulting/Training/Evangelism around Linked Data etc. – [Linked] Data Marketplace – free hosting at the moment – Community – APIs. Evetually looking to monetise

Enough about Talis …

UK Government still pressing forward with open linked data
BBC have done more with Linked Data – e.g. World Cup 2010 site was based on Linked Data – delivered more pages and more traffic with less staff. BBC already working with same technology to look at Olympics 2012 site…

Richard now mentioning Good Relations ontology – adoption by very large commercial organisations.

Linked Data ‘cloud’ has got larger – more links – but what are these links for?
Links (i.e. http URIs) identify things – and so you can deliver information about things you link to… Richard says lots of the ‘talk’ is about things like SPARQL endpoints etc. But should be about identifying things and delivering information about them.

Richard breaking down Linked Data – how RDF describes stuff etc. Allows you to find relationships between things – that machines can parse… [Richard actually said ‘understand’ but don’t think he is necessarily talking AI here]

Richard stressing that Linked Data is about technology and Open Data about licensing – separate issues which talking about ‘Linked Open Data’ conflates – quotes Paul Walk on this from – but says he (Richard) would talk about the Linked Data web not the Semantic Web (Paul uses latter term)

Richard thinks that Libraries have an advantage in entering the Linked Data world – lots of experience, lots of standards, lots of records. We have described things, whereas generally people just have the things they need to describe.

Already have lots of lists of things – subject headings (lcsh), classifications (dewey), people (authority files)

Are libraries good at describing things… or just books?

Are Libraries applicable for Linked Data? How are we doing? Richard gives a school report – “Could do better”; “Showing promise”

When we look at expressing stuff as linked data we need to ask “Why and Who For!”

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