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Re: New LOD Cloud - Please send us links to missing data sources

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Sun, 01 Mar 2009 02:14:33 +0100
Message-ID: <49A9E179.6030001@danbri.org>
To: giovanni.tummarello@deri.org
CC: Joshua Tauberer <jt@occams.info>, public-lod@w3.org
On 1/3/09 01:30, Giovanni Tummarello wrote:
>     congrats and kudos to all those who've made this happen. I think the
>     cloud diagrams are proving a very compelling visual for people who
>     don't care about nerdy detail but understand the idea of interlinked
>     datasets.
> Yes they're great for handwaving if the audience has never seen it,
> otherwise its likely counterproductive
> The problem is that LOD has been stuck here 2 years really now, not a
> single advance not a single application (of the LOD model, not of the
> data, the data is obviously useful and expressing in RDF is also
> starting to be seen as useful) .

Well, it *is* all about the data. Don't forget that! If the cloud 
diagrams only serve to remind people that many many datasets overlap in 
scope, and can be aggregated into larger units wherever they mention 
common objects and use common vocabulary, all is well. We don't need 
intelligent mobile agents for this to pay off. Just nice big databases 
and good old fashioned code.

LOD is an elaboration and improvement on the original linking model we 
had in FOAF (back before RDFCore when the RDF spec was vague on some key 
points, like how many URIs a thing could have, how to model 
same-thing-ness, ...). The main reason for rdfweb (as I called it 
originally) was discovery. In 2000, there was basically no RDF in the 
public Web, apart from some half-hearted bits of Dublin Core. No search 
engines did anything with it then (vs today, with Yahoo, Google, Yandex, 
Nutch, Sindice, SWSE et al.). So having an information linking model for 
RDF was important: it meant we could pretty much find all the RDF in the 
public Web by starting at one FOAF file and crawling. I think LOD has 
similar value today, but the pressure to have a hypertext-based 
discovery model is somewhat reduced. Partly because dataset-level 
information is available (eg. URL templates for LiveJournal, or VOID for 
LOD sites), and these tell coders how they can get their hands on huge 
chunks of data. But also because there are more aggregators and lookup 

Even if most apps work only with a single dataset, linking is 
worthwhile. It reduces the degree of coupling between app and dataset, 
by increasing the commonalities between datasets. And it's a nice hook 
for crawlers, who can then expose different aggregate views back as more 

> That the bubbles continue to grown is however a sociological interesting
> phenomen :-)

Nothing wrong with sociology! :)

I think as SKOS gets rolled out more seriously, linkage by topic (eg. 
LCSH, Dbpedia, ...) will become worth its own custom visualisation...

> On the positive side,  i recently reviewed some work by someone who has
> a very interesting way to create a diagram which actually helps by
> showing which queries can be asked.  Too bad you wont see it in action
> at ESWC because the demo paper was "not up to the springer standards for
> legibility", according to some other reviewer.

The problem here imho is that too many people have forgotten that it is 
the "Semantic Web project", and instead treat "Semantic Web" as the name 
for a research field, or for a hypothetical future version of the Web 
that may never exist.


Received on Sunday, 1 March 2009 01:15:20 UTC

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