Earlier this year, I attended the second face-to-face meeting of the W3C Working Group on Government Linked Data (GLDWG). I have been a member of this international group since last summer, and as someone who is interested in linked data and hopes to incorporate it into my work, I always appreciate the opportunity to learn more from the experts who contribute knowledge to the working group.
The GLDWG is a little different than many of the other W3C Working Groups. Because this group is focusing on providing guidance and other information to help governments publish data as linked data using Semantic Web technologies, the group has many members who are experts from government agencies around the world like the Australian Bureau of Statistics, NASA, the UK National Archives, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. We are also fortunate to have participation from academic, corporate, and other research organizations, such as DERI, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Institut Télécom, and IBM India.
The GLDWG was chartered to provide guidance and develop standards track documents to help all governments share their data as high quality linked data. In this day and age of information overload and rapid technology evolution, it is important for governments to keep pace with industry and academia. Organizations are churning out data at unprecedented rates, but often that data lies trapped in proprietary or unstandardized formats, on isolated hard drives, or within closed systems behind firewalls. By releasing government data in a common format and connecting it to other data already on the web, government organizations begin to reassert their value and demonstrate the importance of their work. The GLDWG recognizes that many government organizations want to release their data as linked data for a number of reasons, including reuse and repurpose of data generated by government funding, but often these organizations need help jumping into the linked data world. The working group has made great progress towards our goal over the past year. Our charter lists three deliverables for the two-year working group:
- A Community Directory of the government linked data community, including information on government linked data projects and vendors, built on semantic technology
- Recommendations for best practices for governments publishing linked data
- Recommendations for governments on which RDF vocabulary terms to use for common concept areas
A beta version of the Community Directory has been populated with data about the working group members’ organizations and projects and is very close to release. So at our recent face-to-face meeting, we focused on moving working drafts of the second two deliverables forward. A great deal of hard work and thought from various group members of each sector has gone into preparing these recommendations, and we are pleased to announce that the first public working drafts (FPWD) are now available for comment. We are asking the community to begin reviewing the following documents:
RDF People Vocabulary: http://www.w3.org/TR/vocab-people
DCAT Vocabulary: http://www.w3.org/TR/vocab-dcat
RDF Data Cube Vocabulary: http://www.w3.org/TR/vocab-data-cube
RDF Organizational Ontology: http://www.w3.org/TR/vocab-org
Comments should be submitted to the GLD Working Group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.