Thursday, 28 July 2011

Linked Data Books (1): Linked Data - Evolving the Web into a Global Data Space

Compared with Computer Science, World Wide Web and Artificial Intelligence, linked data is a relatively new subject to learn. So it is important to find some books or articles to break the ice for beginners and bring them into the magic world of linked data. I think the very first book, which thoroughly described linked data and linked data applications, is Tom Heath and Christian Bizer's Linked Data - Evolving the Web into a Global Data Space.

Dr. Tom Heath is the lead researcher at Talis, which is the leading research institution in linked data and semantic Web. Christian Bizer is one of the creators of well-known DBpedia. They wrote this book to demonstrate the state-of-art of linked data. Book starts from how linked data comes into being and why linked data is important in the current Web. Then they introduces the principles of linked data, which severs as the basic knowledge of publishing data on the Web.

Well, you have know something about the Web first in order to understand why there are four linked data principles. If you know nothing about Web architecture and what is URI here are some links you might find helpful:

Architecture of World Wide Web
What is URI on wikipedia

This book nearly covers everything you would like to know about the current linked data, such as how to choose URIs, dereferecing methods and choosing vocabularies. It also mentions many tools (such as D2R server, sindice inspector, etc) that would be useful for developers to publish data.

One of the figures I really like is the Figure 5.1 linked data publishing workflow

Linked data publishing options and workflow
This figure covers most of the routes leading from traditional structured data to linked data. More importantly, publishing linked data is not a one step task, you have to be patient and carefully evaluate each step.

This is a great book, well from a technician's point of view. Everyone who wants to know linked data or any developer who wants to shift their systems to linked data should not miss this book. But don't forget that modern technologies are usually driven by big companies. Only the market and users can finally decide which technology survives. It is the same case to linked data. I am wondering, after ten years, when I look back into the content in this book, how many of them will become well-accepted and how many of them will just vanished.

Further reading:

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