2007-02-06

Linking Open Data

This is a challenging project for Semantic Web technologies. Weaving together open public data, such as Wikipedia or Geonames, and public ontologies and vocabularies such as Wordnet, etc. Of course I had to be involved in that. But consensus will be hard to achieve. Initiators are folks from Leipzig and Berlin universities, involved in dbpedia, a project to RDF-ize Wikipedia content.
I've pushed the idea that linking concepts from different schemes should not be done on the basis of too strong ontological commitment, but of some kind of loose coupling using e.g., SKOS mapping vocabulary, and why not blank concepts. This proposal has not been well received, to say the least.

I'm in general against using bnodes for anything! They should be deleted from the RDF spec and they are especially harmful in a linked data context, where everything should be dereferencable.
And Richard Cyganiak adds:
Yes, sure ... I understand why you want to introduce the blank node. But I don't like it. Why do you generate data? You want it to be useful. How does this blank node increase its usefulness? It doesn't. It's just a fig leaf to cover up the fact that your model is just an approximation of the real world. But we know this. Every model is. And these "semantic rubber bands" don't change this fact -- they just make your data harder to work with. Be bold! People who want to re-use your data will learn to work around its quirks and idiosyncrasies. Dealing with the quirks is a part of re-using data, it always was, and it always will be.
So much for my hubjects ... but this is not the end of it. More to come.