The Fifth Elephant 2013

An Event on Big Data and Cloud Computing

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Linked Data - visions & implementations


Tim Davies


This talk will provide an introduction to the history, principles and practice of Linked Open Data.

The idea of Linked Open Data was outlined by web inventor Tim Berners-Lee as a means to build a ‘web of data’ alongside the web of documents, and to unlock the potential of dispersed datasets. Linked data has been much hyped, yet implementation is limited: this talk will explore why, and will explore what can be done to better build the web of data.


The talk will review key elements of the linked data stack, from the graph based data model (RDF) and the use of URIs as identifiers, to the adoption of common vocabularies and ontologies, and the publication of linked data on the web and in triple-stores providing SPARQL query access and reasoning support.

Drawing on practical examples it will outline the potential and importance of Linked Open Data, and will consider some of the challenges to linked data use and adoption. These challenges include technical, economic, organisational, political and epistemic concerns. The talk will review these, and will consider how developers wishing to work with linked data can address some of them.

Speaker bio

I am a researcher looking at the social impacts of technologies in open government and civic engagement, based in Oxford, UK.

I have a humanities and social research background, but also try and work hands-on experience with web technologies, managing the development of a number of open data platforms, and building a series of linked data demonstrators for international development organisations.

I am currently research co-ordinator for the Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries project with the World Wide Web Foundation.