Sunday, May 26, 2013

What is linked open data and what does it do?

"It's a powerful tool for connecting previously unconnected resources and stories”
Out of the Trenches : A Linked Open Data Project

"We are familiar with traditional narratives. The web – especially the semantic web – offers something else. It is a work in progress, not fully formed, but that only makes it more exciting to explore."
Mosman Library (NSW): Doing our Bit 1914-1918, Local History Project

I've been trawling through historical datasets today in preparation for GovHack next weekend and my mind is reeling with possibilities. Or perhaps it is just reeling! Thinking about history through data is a new experience for me. It's a brand new way to engage with historical sources and I'm excited.

I'm a GovHack newbie so I've been spending my Sunday doing a bit of research to get a better idea of what is possible and came across a marvelous case study of linked/open data (above). It's a huge project of course - far outside the remit of a 48-hour hackathon - but it really highlights the power and potential of data to reveal new insights about the past. If you're interested in the idea of a semantic web, you can check out a summary of a session on linked data and meta-data that Digital Antipodes ran last year, hosted by UWA's own Toby Burrows.

The Out of the Trenches project aims to optimise WW1 digital historic records by allowing computers to understand complex relationships between data.

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