Posts Tagged ‘CKAN’

The Web Is 25 — And The Semantic Web Has Been An Important Part Of It

web25NOTE: This post was updated at 5:40pm ET.

Today the Web celebrates its 25th birthday, and we celebrate the Semantic Web’s role in that milestone. And what a milestone it is: As of this month, the Indexed Web contains at least 2.31 billion pages, according to WorldWideWebSize.  

The Semantic Web Blog reached out to the World Wide Web Consortium’s current and former semantic leads to get their perspective on the roads The Semantic Web has traveled and the value it has so far brought to the Web’s table: Phil Archer, W3C Data Activity Lead coordinating work on the Semantic Web and related technologies; Ivan Herman, who last year transitioned roles at the W3C from Semantic Activity Lead to Digital Publishing Activity Lead; and Eric Miller, co-founder and president of Zepheira and the leader of the Semantic Web Initiative at the W3C until 2007.

While The Semantic Web came to the attention of the wider public in 2001, with the publication in The Scientific American of The Semantic Web by Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila, Archer points out that “one could argue that the Semantic Web is 25 years old,” too. He cites Berners-Lee’s March 1989 paper, Information Management: A Proposal, that includes a diagram that shows relationships that are immediately recognizable as triples. “That’s how Tim envisaged it from Day 1,” Archer says.

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Helping Citizen Searches For Government Services

Photo courtesy: Flickr/Arjan Richter

By 2016, ABI Research has it, as much as $114 billion could be saved worldwide through the implementation of online e-government services. It predicted that investment in these services is set to increase from $28 billion in 2010 to $57 billion in 2016, and that the number of users will nearly triple over the forecast period.

Here in the states, according to a 2012 survey by GovLoop, 83 percent of respondents say that they can access government-oriented customer service efforts via a website. And the number of people who are taking advantage of the ability to access information and services on government web sites is pretty significant, even going back to 2010, when the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that 82 percent of American Internet users – 62 percent of adults – were doing so. Among its findings at the time were that 46 percent have looked up what services a government agency provides; 33 percent  have renewed a driver’s license or auto registration; 23 percent have gotten information about or applied for government benefits; and 11 percent have applied for a recreational license, such as a fishing or hunting license.

Given the interest in accessing information via the Internet about government services by the citizenry — not to mention accessing the services themselves, and not only in the US but abroad — it makes sense for governments to put an emphasis on customer service online. The Govloop survey finds that there’s room for some improvement, with the majority of respondents rating service a 3 or 4 on the scale of 1 to 5. Perhaps additional help will come from some efforts in the semantic web space, like a vocabulary for describing civic services that government organizations can use to help citizens using search engines hone in on the service that’s their true interest from the start.

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Navigating The World Of Open Data On The Web

At a session discussing open data on the web at the Semantic Technology and Business Conference last week, W3C eGov consultant Phil Archer had this to say: That in his mind and the minds of the semantic web technology business people gathered at the event, “Open data is strongly associated with Linked Data, but the world doesn’t necessarily agree with us.”

What they are thinking about: “JSON and CSVs are the kings,” he said. “If you look at open data portals, CSVs [which get converted to JSON files] outweigh Linked Data by a mile,” he noted. And, he said, religious wars between those who see the world as triples vs. CSVs won’t be good for anyone. “If we keep telling the public sector to aim for 5-star data, vs. CSV 3-star data, we are in danger of the whole open data movement collapsing.”

No one wants that, and to address the big picture of realizing the promise of open data, April saw The Open Data on the Web workshop take place. It was organized by the W3C, the Open Data Institute, founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, and the Open Knowledge Foundation.

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Success for Open Data at OKFest

Mark Wainwright of OKF writes, “Last week’s OKFest is finally over, after a hectic week of talks, workshops, films, hackathons, and more. You can read about highlights such as Hans Rosling’s brilliant talk over on the OKFN blog. The biggest challenge for me was being in two places at once on Wednesday afternoon, with both the CKAN workshop and a panel discussion, including me, in the Open Science stream on ‘Immediate access to raw data from experiments’, where I was on the panel, running in nearby buildings at overlapping times. (Happily I more or less pulled it off.)” Read more

CKAN Data Hubs Around the World

Mark Wainwright of CKAN reports, “The last few months have seen a lot of activity in Open Data round the world, and a corresponding clutch of new CKAN data hubs and portals in Austria, Brazil, the US, and elsewhere. Here is a quick roundup. There is a (fairly) complete list of all CKAN portals here.” First in the roundup is Brazil: “The Brazilian government now has an official open data portal at dados.gov.br. It was built with CKAN by the Ministry of Planning, with help from the Brazilian chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. The Brazilian Senate has also used CKAN to set up its own open data portal.” Read more

Linked Open Government Data: Dispatch from the Second International Open Government Data Conference

“What we have found with this project is… the capacity to take value out of open data is very limited.”

With the abatement of the media buzz surrounding open data since the first International Open Government Data Conference (IOGDC) was held in November 2011, it would be easy to believe that the task of opening up government data for public consumption is a fait accompli.  Most of the discussion at this year’s IOGDC conference, held July 10-12, centered on the advantages and roadblocks to creating an open data ecosystem within government, and the need to establish the right mix of policies to promote a culture of openness and sharing both within and between government agencies and externally with journalists, civil society, and the public at large.   According to these metrics the open government data movement has much to celebrate:  1,022,787 datasets from 192 catalogs in 24 languages representing 43 countries and international organizations.

The looming questions about the utility of open government data make it clear, however, that the movement is still in its early stages.    Much remains to be done to to provide usable, reliable, machine-readable and valuable government data to the public.

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LOD Cloud Updated – Time to Change Your Slide Decks!

Linking Open Data cloud diagramAnyone who has seen a slide presentation on Semantic Web, Linked Data, or related technologies, has most likely seen the Linking Open Data (LOD) Cloud diagram. Since its debut in 2007, the diagram has grown to its current size which includes 295 datasets in the form of a connected cloud. The data sets in the LOD cloud consist of over 31 billion RDF triples and are interlinked by around 504 million RDF links.

You can find the September 2011 version of the cloud at http://lod-cloud.net along with a colored version and various formats.

The diagram’s creators have also released new statistics about the structure of the LOD cloud as well as the compliance of the data sets in the cloud with the Linked Data best practices.
These statistics can be found at http://lod-cloud.net/state.

Richard Cyganiak, one of the creators, is encouraging submissions for the next iteration. Cyganiak said, “Thanks a lot to everybody who contributed to the creation of the diagram by providing and updating the meta-information about the data sets on the Data Hub (http://thedatahub.org , formerly known as CKAN)!”

“If you publish a Linked Data set yourself, please add it to the Data Hub so that we can include it in the next release of the LOD cloud diagram.”

Semantics in the Public Library

A recent article from LibConf.com discusses the implementation of semantic web technologies in public libraries. The article begins, “Why do we need a new Web?  We often forget the kinds of problems we have with the tools available to us, such as high recall and low precision with Google.  The web is very vocabulary dependent.  Today’s Web search engines do not group web pages, pull out concepts, or understand them.  There is no access to the deep web.”

This is where the semantic web comes in: “We do have tools that can handle complex queries such as Scopus.  These search engines can do this because they have clearly tagged relational databases on the back end.  The semantic web solution is to turn the Web into something like a database, with structured data, controlled vocabularies, and linking.  The point is to create machine-actionable data because computers visit websites as often as people do.” Read more