The past few weeks have seen some fairly significant announcements within the UK, in Europe and beyond, regarding linked data, APIs and global discovery services. Below are some of the highlights:
- Here in the UK we saw the launch of the UK Government’s Public Sector Linked Data Working Group (@UKGovLD) and have issued an open invite via Twitter for information about any public sector linked data projects which should be included on the ‘Who is doing what’ page of their website. The Cabinet Office also published an Open Data White Paper subtitled ‘Unleashing the Potential’ which cites transparency as the major driver for publishing data in an open format.
- OCLC announced that it has started adding linked data, using schema.org mark-up, WorldCat.org records. Adrian Pohl wrote this useful guide to accessing WorldCat’s linked data on the Open Knowledge Foundation website.
- In May Google launched their Knowledge Graph, an all-knowing semantic search capability which is now embedded within Google.com search results for ‘things, people and places’, back in May. There’s no indication yet of when the enhancement will be rolled out to the UK search but, as Paul Miller discusses in his blogpost, their development sees semantic web move into the mainstream. Google’s Knowledge Graph is built on, and a continuation of Metaweb’s vision of producing “a machine-readable catalog of everything in the world”. However, Darin Stewart, writing on the Gartner blog takes a cautionary tone and flags up cause for concern about the closed and commercial nature of the Knowledge Graph and, as he mentions in the article, there appears to be no sign of an API service being offered at this moment.
- The European Library’s new union search portal was launched at the LIBER Conference and opens up online access “to more than 200 million records from the collections of national and research libraries across Europe” – UK contributors to the initiative are:British Library, Wellcome Library, Bodleian Libraries, University College London and the National Library of Wales. European Library The European Library has made an OpenSearch API available for developers on a non-commercial use basis but unfortunately it is only available to member libraries.
- A useful and wide ranging exploration of the current barriers to open data which took place at the European Internet Foundation’s Open Data dinner debate.
- Last month the Open Knowledge Foundation reported on the workshops they jointly organised with the Open Culture Data initiative about open metadata (as part of a Digital Heritage Netherlands event), which were partly triggered by Europeana’s recent implementation of a CC0 licence for their metadata. The event was an opportunity for cultural institutions to discuss the risks and benefits of open metadata as put forward in Europeana’s 2011 White Paper ‘The Problem of the Yellow Milkmaid: A Business Model Perspective on Open Metadata’. It’s interesting to note their observation on the differing role of libraries (presumably public libraries rather than academic libraries):
“One other thing that came up is that the situation of libraries differs greatly from other cultural institutions. This [is] because they are often not the owners of their metadata, but buy this from a commercial company. This means that open data is often not discussed in the library world because they argue that it is not their choice to make. As a result the librarians remain invisible in the discussion about how [to] provide service in a digital age.”
- Finally, hot off the presses, the Nature Publishing Group have announced today that they have further expanded the number of datasets released, including their bibliographic metadata, under a CC0 license via their NPG Linked Data Platform.