Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Vironevaeh
As we get ready to celebrate the July 4 holiday here in the States, there’s a lot to cheer for about how the Semantic Web can be a force for good when it comes to creating an informed and empowered populace upon which democracy depends. Examples of this include the work being done by the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to translate open government datasets into RDF and create applications using linked government data (read more here); and work by the Sunlight Foundation, which does things such as make semantic information in its OpenCongress wiki available via an API with the help of the Semantic MediaWiki extension.
The departure of Vivek Kundra as federal CIO that takes effect in August – together with the planned funding cuts to e-government initiatives, such as the Data.gov open data effort – may take its toll on the data that’s available to Semantic Web initiatives at the federal level. On the other hand, states themselves are plowing ahead, most recently with the launch of the State of Illinois Open Data site that’s built on Socrata’s platform. Socrata supports a number of different formats for developers, RDF among them, with its Open API. Cities won’t be left out of the mix, either, with New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, to name a few, pursuing this agenda.
But let’s take a moment to look beyond government data.