Ten years (and change) since the publication of The Semantic Web article in Scientific American, co-author Jim Hendler says he is “very, very happy and optimistic about the state of semantic technologies and the Semantic Web.”
And, he notes, government has been an exciting partner in its progress.
Hendler, professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, home of the Tetherless World Constellation, will provide evidence of that in his presentation at the upcoming Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Washington D.C. this month. TWC works on opening and linking government data using Semantic Web technologies, and Hendler also freely provides his expertise to the U.S. data.gov project, through which he’s in contact with many other governments’ open data projects. Those attending Hendler’s keynote at the conference will get a look at TWC’s new International Open Government Dataset Search (IOGDS) app based on metadata extracted from some 400,000 government datasets on catalog websites. These were converted to RDF Linked Data and then republished via TWC’s LOGD SPARQL endpoint. “That proves we can use metadata to help people find the right data when there is so much available,” Hender says, and yield better visualizations of it, too.
Some 25 countries currently are represented, inclusive of datasets from the U.S., U.K., Singapore, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Kenya, and China. “What’s exciting to me is we see this happening all around the world,” Hendler says. “The extent to which the ecosystem is forming around this area is really surprising.” TWC features a few dozen demos here, which provide some insight into how much of a game-changer it is for government to couple open and Linked Data, providingthe ability to do things more quickly and in a more web-friendly way, and at lower costs. Hendler points to TWC’s creating infographic visualizations from several government datasets in hours, not months, and at a cost of pennies, not tens of thousands of dollars.