We, Linked Data are the ordinary records you might think of when imagining ways to keep, transfer and share information, knowledge or experience. Containing information is both our vocation and our avocation: that’s all we do. And to that, there’s something else, a little more wondrous than the things other data do.
We, Linked Data, can, or at least we really do our best to, map the world as it is – open, fluid and complexly interconnected. This is neither easy, nor a thing that we would ever be able to accomplish.We, Linked Data, can, or at least we really do our best to, map the world as it is - open, fluid and complexly interconnected. This is neither easy, nor a thing that we would ever be able to accomplish. Click To Tweet
The main concept that underlies our principles is interconnectedness. We want to build as much relationships as possible. Our ultimate goal is to provide a seamless experience for those who navigate the Web by making content “understandable” by algorithms and computer programs.
The Semantic Web is an extension of the current web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation.
cit. Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, Ora Lassila (2001)
By now, we Linked Data have been instrumental to clinical research, books, even jazz. On this website you can see a picture of our “open” version, that us, Linked Data, published as Linked Open Data:
The names in the circles are the names of the datasets they represent. The lines, connecting the circles indicate the existence of at least one link between two datasets. As you can see from this beautiful graph, we, Linked Data, are a result of many many hours dedicated people have worked to publish us the way we are – open, free and highly, highly interconnected.
We, Linked Data merit your wonder and awe, a claim we shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand the miraculousness which we symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. We have two profound lessons to teach with which we seek to improve information exchange and sharing across the Web and nurture the Web We Want together with the Semantic Web, where content exists with well-defined meaning form computers to manage efficiently. These two lessons are: the lesson of access to knowledge and the lesson of unchained text.
# 1 Access to Knowledge
There is a definition of metadata that goes like this:
Metadata, you see, is really a love note – it might be to yourself, but in fact it’s a love note to the person after you, or the machine after you, where you’ve saved someone that amount of time to find something by telling them what this thing is.
Cit. Jason Scott’s Weblog
To build upon this, think of us as love notes in lingua franca, love notes that are deeply interconnected. You can spread the love everywhere, on any device, in any language (thanks to data interoperability). Isn’t that beautiful? A truly smarter world where information (with all its data) is exchanged seamlessly. No silos, not walled gardens (walled by proprietary formats).
And to give flesh to that beauty, here’s a cool, jazzy example: The Linked Open Jazz Project.
Linked Data is about using the Web to connect related data that wasn’t previously linked, or using the Web to lower the barriers to linking data currently linked using other methods. More specifically, Wikipedia defines Linked Data as “a term used to describe a recommended best practice for exposing, sharing, and connecting pieces of data, information, and knowledge on the Semantic Web using URIs and RDF.”
# 2 Unchained Text
Whether accessed through a conversation between two or more people, or via pencil and paper, spoken AI, AR, VR or a futuristic Direct Brain Connection, the information we need to interact with to solve problems needs to have some sort of symbolic representation for us to be able to access, ‘see’, interact and share it; without a symbolic representation we have no way to grasp the information – no way to get a handle on it – and no way to develop and increase our perspectives.
Cit. Symbol Space
We, Linked Data, can and do unchain text. We give it machine-readable wings to fly beyond the boundaries of a webpage or a mobile app. Digitised and connected, texts make writing shine brighter and impress what it needs to on the reader with greater rhetorical impact. And this is one of the ways writing transforms and enters a brave new, interconnected world. Slowly, but steadily. And in a Linked Data State of Mind)
Epilogue: Stay connected!
We, Linked Data, are complex, but our goal is simple: connect people and knowledge on the Web.We, Linked Data, are complex, but our goal is simple: connect people and knowledge on the Web. Click To Tweet
We understand the vastness and richness of human knowledge and experience and honor the dynamics of human connections and collaborations. We can’t and don’t mean to solve each and every problem. What we, Linked Data, aspire to do is embrace the interconnected complexity of knowledge and be instrumental for taking human understanding to the next level and providing grounds for using information to know more, do more and stay connected.