Linked data

In computing, linked data (often capitalized as Linked Data) is a method of publishing structured data so that it can be interlinked and become more useful through semantic queries. It builds upon standard Web technologies such as HTTP, RDF and URIs, but rather than using them to serve web pages for human readers, it extends them to share information in a way that can be read automatically by computers. This enables data from different sources to be connected and queried.[1]

Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), coined the term in a 2006 design note about the Semantic Web project.[2]


Tim Berners-Lee outlined four principles of linked data in his "Linked Data" note of 2006,[2] paraphrased along the following lines:

  1. Use URIs to name (identify) things.
  2. Use HTTP URIs so that these things can be looked up (interpreted, "dereferenced").
  3. Provide useful information about what a name identifies when it's looked up, using open standards such as RDF, SPARQL, etc.
  4. Refer to other things using their HTTP URI-based names when publishing data on the Web.

Tim Berners-Lee gave a presentation on linked data at the TED 2009 conference.[3] In it, he restated the linked data principles as three "extremely simple" rules:

  1. All kinds of conceptual things, they have names now that start with HTTP.
  2. If I take one of these HTTP names and I look it up...I will get back some data in a standard format which is kind of useful data that somebody might like to know about that thing, about that event.
  3. When I get back that information it's not just got somebody's height and weight and when they were born, its got relationships. And when it has relationships, whenever it expresses a relationship then the other thing that it's related to is given one of those names that starts with HTTP.


Linked open data

Linked open data is linked data that is open content.[4][5][6] Tim Berners-Lee gives the clearest definition of linked open data in differentiation with linked data.

Linked Open Data (LOD) is Linked Data which is released under an open licence, which does not impede its reuse for free.
Tim Berners-Lee, Linked Data[2][7]

Large linked open data sets include DBpedia and Freebase.


The term "linked open data" has been in use since at least February 2007, when the "Linking Open Data" mailing list[8] was created.[9] The mailing list was initially hosted by the SIMILE project[10] at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Linking Open Data community project

The above diagram shows which Linking Open Data datasets are connected, as of August 2014. This was produced by the Linked Open Data Cloud project, which was started in 2007. Some sets may include copyrighted data which is freely available.[11]

The goal of the W3C Semantic Web Education and Outreach group's Linking Open Data community project is to extend the Web with a data commons by publishing various open datasets as RDF on the Web and by setting RDF links between data items from different data sources. In October 2007, datasets consisted of over two billion RDF triples, which were interlinked by over two million RDF links.[12][13] By September 2011 this had grown to 31 billion RDF triples, interlinked by around 504 million RDF links. A detailed statistical breakdown was published in 2014.[14]

European Union projects

There are a number of European Union projects involving linked data. These include the linked open data around the clock (LATC) project,[15] the PlanetData project,[16] the DaPaaS (Data-and-Platform-as-a-Service) project,[17] and the Linked Open Data 2 (LOD2) project.[18][19][20] Data linking is one of the main goals of the EU Open Data Portal, which makes available thousands of datasets for anyone to reuse and link.


Dataset instance and class relationships

Clickable diagrams that show the individual datasets and their relationships within the DBpedia-spawned LOD cloud (as shown by the figures to the right) are available.[21][22]

See also


  1. Bizer, Christian; Heath, Tom; Berners-Lee, Tim (2009). "Linked DataThe Story So Far" (PDF). International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems. 5 (3): 1–22. doi:10.4018/jswis.2009081901. ISSN 1552-6283. Retrieved 2010-12-18. Solving Semantic Interoperability Conflicts in Cross–Border E–Government Services.
  2. 1 2 3 Tim Berners-Lee (2006-07-27). "Linked Data". Design Issues. W3C. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  3. "Tim Berners-Lee on the next Web".
  4. "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Linked Data - Connect Distributed Data across the Web".
  5. "COAR » 7 things you should know about…Linked Data".
  6. "Linked Data Basics for Techies".
  7. "5 Star Open Data".
  8. " Mail Archives".
  9. "SweoIG/TaskForces/CommunityProjects/LinkingOpenData/NewsArchive".
  10. "SIMILE Project - Mailing Lists".
  11. Linking open data cloud diagram 2014, by Max Schmachtenberg, Christian Bizer, Anja Jentzsch and Richard Cyganiak.
  12. Linking Open Data
  13. Fensel, Dieter; Facca, Federico Michele; Simperl, Elena; Ioan, Toma (2011). Semantic Web Services. Springer. p. 99. ISBN 3642191924.
  15. Linked open data around the clock (LATC)
  16. PlanetData
  17. DaPaaS
  18. Linking Open Data 2 (LOD2)
  19. "CORDIS FP7 ICT Projects – LOD2". European Commission. 2010-04-20.
  20. "LOD2 Project Fact Sheet – Project Summary" (PDF). 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  21. Instance relationships amongst datasets
  22. Class relationships amongst datasets

Further reading

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