Tyler Bell on why linked data will win

 by Martin Belam, 16 November 2010

Tyler Bell has written a piece for O'Reilly Radar entitled "Where the semantic web stumbled, linked data will succeed". He seems to comes out strongly in favour of the Lego-building kit approach of interoperable data from many sources, rather than the rigid approach of defining a perfect ontology to map everything to. He says:

"I would argue that linked data is more of an ethos than a standard, focused on providing context, assisting in disambiguation, and increasing serendipity within the user experience"

He makes the point that things become a success online because they are useful, not because they are beautifully formulated. Certain types of microformats have become popular because they influence search result pages, without the need for microformat metadata to become in any way compulsorary. People can see the benefits.

Tyler goes on to identify 6 key elements of the linked data ecosphere: Entity provision, entity annotation, endpoints & introspection, entity extraction, relationships, and entity concordance & crosswalking. The latter, he says, citing the Guardian Open Platform API as an example, are:

"the unsung heroes of the linked data world, facilitating interoperability by establishing links between identical entities across namespaces. Huge, unrealized value exists within these applications, and we need more of them."

Whilst we are the first to admit that our steps at the Guardian into the linked data world have been tentative and far from comprehensive, it is heartening that they are being noticed.

You can see me discussing 'Mapping the Guardian's tags to the web of data' at the Online Information conference on November 30th, and I'll be talking about linked data at news:rewired on December 16th. Both events are in London.

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