Motivation for this post arose from a series of Twitter
exchanges between Tony Hirst and I, in relation to his
blog post titled: So What Is It About Linked Data that Makes it
Linked Data™ ?
At the end of the marathon session, it was clear to me that a blog post was required for future
reference, at the very least :-)
"Data Access by Reference" mechanism for Data
Objects (or Entities) on HTTP networks. It enables you to Identify
a Data Object and Access its structured Data Representation via a
single Generic HTTP scheme based Identifier (HTTP URI). Data Object representation formats may
vary; but in all cases, they are hypermedia oriented, fully structured, and
negotiable within the context of a client-server message
Why is it Important?
Information makes the world tick!
Information doesn't exist without data to contextualize.
Information is inaccessible without a projection (presentation)
All information (without exception, when produced by humans) is
subjective. Thus, to truly maximize the innate heterogeneity of
collective human intelligence, loose coupling of our information
and associated data sources is imperative.
How is Linked Data Delivered?
Linked Data is exposed to HTTP networks (e.g. World Wide Web) via hypermedia resources
bearing structured representations of data object descriptions.
Remember, you have a single Identifier abstraction (generic HTTP
URI) that embodies: Data Object Name and Data Representation
Location (aka URL).
How are Linked Data Object Representations Structured?
A structured representation of data exists when an Entity (Datum), its Attributes, and its
Attribute Values are clearly discernible. In the case of a Linked
Data Object, structured descriptions take the form of a hypermedia
based Entity-Attribute-Value (EAV) graph pictorial
-- where each Entity, its Attributes, and its Attribute Values
(optionally) are identified using Generic HTTP URIs.
Examples of structured data representation formats (content
types) associated with Linked Data Objects include:
How Do I Create Linked Data oriented Hypermedia Resources?
You markup resources by expressing distinct
entity-attribute-value statements (basically these a 3-tuple
records) using a variety of notations:
- Others (for instance you can use Atom data format extensions to
model EAV graph as per OData initiative from Microsoft).
You can achieve this task using any of the following
- WYSIWYG Editor
- Transformation of Database Records via Middleware
- Transformation of XML based Web Services
output via Middleware
- Transformation of other Hypermedia Resources via
- Transformation of non Hypermedia Resources via Middleware
- Use a platform that delivers all of the above.
Practical Examples of Linked Data Objects Enable
- Describe Who You Are, What You Offer, and What You Need via
your structured profile, then leave your HTTP network to perform
the REST (serendipitous discovery of relevant things)
- Identify (via map overlay) all items of interest based on a
2km+ radious of my current location (this could include vendor
offerings or services sought by existing or future customers)
- Share the latest and greatest family photos with family members
*only* without forcing them to signup for Yet Another Web 2.0
service or Social Network
- No repetitive signup and username and password based login
sequences per Web 2.0 or Mobile Application combo
- Going beyond imprecise Keyword Search to the new frontier of
Precision Find - Example, Find Data Objects associated with the
keywords: Tiger, while enabling the seeker disambiguate across the
"Who", "What", "Where", "When" dimensions (with negation
- Determine how two Data Objects are Connected - person to
person, person to subject matter etc. (LinkedIn outside the walled
- Use any resource address (e.g blog
or bookmark URL) as the conduit into a Data Object mesh that
exposes all associated Entities and their social network
- Apply patterns (social dimensions) above to traditional
enterprise data sources in combination (optionally) with external
data without compromising security etc.
How Do OpenLink Software Products Enable Linked
Our data access middleware heritage (which spans 16+ years) has
enabled us to assemble a rich portfolio of coherently integrated
products that enable cost-effective evaluation and utilization of
Linked Data, without writing a single line of code, or exposing you
to the hidden, but extensive admin and configuration costs. Post
installation, the benefits of Linked Data simply materialize (along
the lines described above).
Our main Linked Data oriented products include:
OpenLink Data Explorer -- visualizes Linked
Data or Linked Data transformed "on the fly" from hypermedia and
non hypermedia data sources
URIBurner -- a "deceptively simple" solution
that enables the generation of Linked Data "on the fly" from a
broad collection of data sources and resource types
OpenLink Data Spaces -- a platform for
enterprises and individuals that enhances distributed collaboration
via Linked Data driven virtualization of data across its native
and/or 3rd party content manager for: Blogs, Wikis, Shared
Bookmarks, Discussion Forums, Social Networks etc
OpenLink Virtuoso -- a secure and
high-performance native hybrid data server (Relational, RDF-Graph,
Document models) that includes in-built Linked Data transformation
middleware (aka. Sponger).