A. Shakya: “From hyperlinking to data linking”
[This article was written by guest author Aman Shakya and originally submitted as an entry in our LinkedData Vision Competition]
The current gigantic network of web documents could be realized by enabling any user to publish any document and link to other documents. If we want to see the network of Linked Open Data explode on a similar scale, we need to enable general users to publish â€œdataâ€ directly on the web and link to other â€œdataâ€. We need to move the paradigm of web page publishing and hyperlinking towards data publishing and data linking. We should enable people to post structured data about anything rather than just unstructured text. We need the active participation and contribution of the billions of worldwide internet users. Recently, the web has seen enormous user participation with the rise of easy-to-use social software. We should exploit this trend of social web applications, however, for enabling people to create, share and link â€œdataâ€ on the global Linked Data Web.
With this vision, I am working on a social Semantic Web application called StYLiD (an acronym for Structure Your own Linked Data), now available at www.stylid.org. A basic demo video is also available at www.stylid.org/quickstart.php#video
It enables people to share a wide variety of structured data with the freedom to define their own structured concepts on the fly. Concepts with attributes can be used to model any data. We can also consolidate such multiple small schemas defined by many people to have emerging and evolving concepts. Any user would be able to share structured data simply by filling up system generated forms for such concepts. The system supports creating linked data right from the time of data entry. While submitting new data instances, we can directly input other data instances, as attribute values. It supports the users to simply pick up data from a suggested range of concepts. We may also input any resource URI as the attribute value directly. It enables the user to link to existing vast resources like Wikipedia too. Transparently, the Wikipedia URLs get converted into URIs in the DBpedia linked data repository. Wikipedia is better known and understood by general people. So they would be motivated to link to Wikipedia to make their data more informative and interesting. Thus, while people would still be using simple web interfaces, they would be creating a web of data which machines can crawl and process.
We have already witnessed how the current web of documents has transformed our lives. The Giant Global Graph of open Linked Data will be the next big thing. Linking data will shrink the exploding information space into a small world where any data can be easily reached from anywhere. This will open up a new range of possibilities. Businesses will foster in healthy competition by tapping in this common wealth. The open linked data will truly reflect global interests and drive world politics towards the welfare of everyone. Machines will feed upon the linked data and do useful things for people. This will transform our lives once again. We cannot predict all outcomes of such enormous power. However, we need not be afraid when the entire world is watching and working for the benefit of mankind.
National Institute of Informatics,