‘Linked data’: making connections between unrelated datasets

Publishing data is a start, and publishing it in a common standard that others can understand and re-use is the next step; but wouldn’t it be even more useful if you could see correlations between seemingly unrelated sets of data?

That’s where linked data comes in. The website linkeddata.org puts it like this:

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

Creating datasets can be quite technical though, using technologies such as RDF (for storing data) and SPARQL (for retrieving it). They mystify me.

Thankfully though, some people do know what they’re doing. Stuart Harrison, Webmaster at Lichfield District Council, has just started blogging A beginner’s guide to SPARQLing linked data, which takes you through using SPARQL to query sets of linked data.