A lot of activities around Linking Open Data (“LOD”) and the associated data sets which are nicely visualised as a “cloud” are going on for quite a while now. It is exciting to see how the rather academic “Semantic Web” and all the work which is associated with this disruptive technology can be transformed now into real business use cases.
What I have obeyed in the last few months, especially in business communities, is the following:
- “Linked Data” sounds interesting for the business people because the phrase creates a lot of associations in a second or two; also the database crowd seems to be attracted by this web-based approach of data integration
- “Web of Data” is somehow misleading because many people think that this will be a new web which replaces something else. Same story with the “Semantic Web”
- “Linking Open Data” sounds dangerous to many companies
For insiders it is clear, that the “openness” of data, especially in commercial settings, can be controlled and has to be controlled in many cases. Which means, it can be one-way or mutual. In some use cases data from companies will be put into the cloud, and can be opened up for many purposes, in other use cases it will stay inside the boundaries. In other scenarios only (open) data from the web will be consumed and linked with corporate data, but no data will be exposed to the world (except the fact, that data was consumed by an entity).
And of course: In many other occasions datasets and repositories will be opened up partly depending on the CCs and the underlying privacy regulations one wants to use.
This makes clear that LOD / Linking Open Data is just one detail of a bigger picture. Since companies (and governments) play a crucial role to develop the whole infrastructure, we need to draw a new picture:
I´ll be happy to have a lively discussion about this topic also at the first Linked Data Camp in Vienna.