W3C eGov: Tim Berners-Lee on “Widescale data integration: opportunities and challenges”

Note: These are rough notes from the W3C Workshop on eGovernment and the Web.  It is being held in Washington DC on June 18th-19th.

The value you get from the Web is re-use.  You put something on the Web because other people will find it useful for reasons that you don’t know.

You’re amazed at all the things that you’ll find on the Web that crazy people put out there.  You’d be amazed at all the ways your data gets re-used.  Sometimes its for a wide look at something or sometimes its for a very quick look.

At the Semantic Web level, you can ask questions that go across all the different stove pipes.

When you share data, its more reusable.  You should make the data available via accessible Web sites but also just as data.  Data will be merged with  other data from other places.  Re-use may well outstrip the primary use.

If we want wider re-use, we have to talk to the wider community.  It takes effort.

Semantic Web is the first technology that understands that there are different ontologies between organizations.  The two ontologies can be wired together and be treated as if they’re the same.

Data Owners Should

  1. Take inventory
  2. Decide Priorities
  3. Look for existing ontologies
  4. Don’t change the way the data is managed
  5. Set up standard (RDF, SPARQL) portals onto existing data
  6. Where necessary, adapt or write new ontology bits.

We should always use open standards, regardless of whether or not it will be public.

If we use linked data, we can reference other people’s data systems and make our systems become more useful.

Well we need to track where we got our data from.  We need to track what the acceptable uses are and what the licenses are.

Next steps… we need to make our data Semantic Web standards compliant. There is a list on the ESW wiki of linked data.  We shouldn’t be upset existing systems.  Don’t make ontologies unless you have to.  Allow for re-use and transparency.

(Tim Berners-Lee’s slides from this talk are available online)

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