Re: Civic apps and Linked Data

On 27-6-2013 0:12, Alvaro Graves wrote:
> Hi Frans,
> I think there is a chicken-and-egg problem there. Governments won't 
> release Linked Data since they don't see the value of doing so because 
> nobody uses it (at least that's what employees from several government 
> have told me).
That could be a factor, but I don't think it is the whole story. Well, 
it probably depends on which government and who in the government you 
are talking to. I think in my country there is a fairly broad desire to 
make national data public, as Open Data. Many people in government 
recognize that not only society will benefit, but government itself too. 
Much time and money is spent now on getting data from one institution to 
the other and trying to merge data. Having it all online, in proper 
formats, would be an enormous boost to productivity of many civil servants.

There are several reasons why not all national data are published as 
five star data right away:

1) Budgets are cut because of the economic crisis. It is hard  to start 
up major innovative projects.
2) Some data administrators don't like the idea of sharing the treasure 
they hoard.
3) Some data administrators don't like the idea that people might find 
weak spots or errors in the data.
4) Publishing data sets the right way takes a lot of effort and knowledge.
5) Publishing Linked Data means publishing semantics and metadata too. 
With old school data management these things can too easily be ignored.
6) Some people feel that there first should be official standards from 
official standard institutions.

This list is probably not complete.

> I disagree with Kinsgley in terms that Linked Data is not complicated, 
> it is more complex than releasing CSV files. The evidence for me is 
> the fact that very few governments have actually released LOD 
> platforms :-) I think there is an intrinsic value of LOD that can't be 
> obtained by releasing 3-star data, however in many of these situations 
> people can make short term plans (i.e., release in whatever format you 
> have, don't spend too much time on modeling, converting, etc.).
I think that for the kind of data that are needed for attaining critical 
mass for civic apps, yes, the publication process is very complicated. 
Both technically and organisational.
> From the point of view of developers, I don't see as many tools to use 
> LOD as for using CSV, JSON, etc. I think this is a critical point in 
> encouraging the use and publication of LOD.
I think the avarage developer could quickly learn some basic SPARQL. The 
idea that you can build a query, send it as a HTTP request en get some 
data in JSON format is quite powerful. I think learning SPARQL is 
similar to learning SQL. Many developers know a bit of SQL. You do not 
need to know everything to get things done.

> Alvaro Graves-Fuenzalida
> Web: - Twitter: @alvarograves
> On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM, Frans Knibbe | Geodan 
> < <>> wrote:
>     Hello Alvaro,
>     I think a big reason is the lack of data. I believe that if
>     governmental institutions in my country would publish their data
>     as five star data there would be a boom in development of civic
>     apps, and in the publication of other data sets as Linked Data
>     too. As things stand now, the core of national or regional data
>     that is published as Linked Data is so small that it can very
>     easily be ignored. There is no critical mass.
>     Regards,
>     Frans
>     On 26-6-2013 16:03, Alvaro Graves wrote:
>>     Hello everyone,
>>     A few days ago I attended ABRELATAM'13 an unconference focused on
>>     Open Data in Latin America. I proposed a session about Open Data
>>     + Linked Data to discuss how semantics and LOD in general can
>>     help government and civi organizations. I want to share the main
>>     ideas that emerged from the conversation:
>>     - SW/LOD sounds really cool and the direction where thing should
>>     move.
>>     - However there are many technical aspects that remain unsolved
>>     - Since for many people having a relatively good solution using
>>     CSV, JSON, etc. is easier, they don't want to use SW/LOD because
>>     it is an overkill and too complicated.
>>     So my question is: Why we don't see lots of civic apps using
>>     Linked Data? Where are the SW activists? Why we haven't been able
>>     to demonstrate to the hacker community the benefits of using
>>     semantic technologies? Is it because they are hard to use? They
>>     don't scale well in many cases (as a googled pointed out)? Are we
>>     too busy working in academia/businesses?
>>     I know very few civic apps using semantic technologies and I
>>     don't think I have seen anyone that has made real impact in any
>>     country. I would love if you can prove me wrong and if we can
>>     discuss how can we involve more activists and hackers into the
>>     SW/LOD community.
>>     Alvaro Graves-Fuenzalida
>>     Web: - Twitter: @alvarograves
>     -- 
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Received on Thursday, 27 June 2013 09:06:19 UTC