All wealth of information is already widely available on the Internet or in company-wide Intranets. In many situations, however, we tend perceive this plethora of information as an information overload, since it is still rarely possible to answer search queries going beyond simple keyword-searches and tedious to integrate information from different sources in unforeseen ways. Enabling such intelligent ways to process information on the Web is the key aim of the Semantic Web vision, but it seems that its realization based on logic and reasoning will take more time than initially anticipated.
Recently however, the Linked Data paradigm – a more lightweight and pragmatic approach for integrating information on the Web – gained traction. It is based on representing information in facts consisting of subject, predicate and object (aka RDF triples), publishing these on the Web and interlinking them by using the same mechanism as linking between web pages (via URIs). With more than 20 billion facts thus already published as Linked Open Data (LOD) the document Web is enriched with a data commons comprising, for example, all the BBC programming, Wikipedia as a structured knowledge base (DBpedia) and statistical information from Eurostat and the US census.
Co-funded by the European Union with 6.5 Million Euro as well as by companies and research institutions from 6 European countries the project LOD2 aims to realize the Web of Linked Data by developing crucial technological building blocks for the application of the Linked Data paradigm in companies, Web communities and governmental institutions. In particular, the LOD2 project will develop:
- enterprise-ready tools and methodologies for exposing and managing very large amounts of structured information on the Data Web,
- a testbed and bootstrap network of high-quality multi-domain, multi-lingual ontologies from sources such as Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap.
- algorithms based on machine learning for automatically interlinking and fusing data from the Web.
- standards and methods for reliably tracking provenance, ensuring privacy and data security as well as for assessing the quality of information.
- adaptive tools for searching, browsing, and authoring of Linked Data.
The resulting tools, methods and data sets have the potential to change the Web as we know it today. This makes LOD2 relevant for researchers, industry and citizens alike. Whether it is about the efficient integration of enterprise data, the open-standardized access to scientific publications and experiment data or the opening of governmental data silos for the creative use by citizens, LOD2 will improve the usability of the Web for integrating heterogeneous information.
The 4-year collaborative research and development project, which is coordinated by the AKSW research group from UniversitÃ¤t Leipzig starts in September 2010. Involves the partners Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica from the Netherlands, National University of Ireland, Galway, Freie UniversitÃ¤t Berlin, UK-based OpenLink Software, Semantic Web Company from Vienna, the Belgian IT service providerTenForce, the french specialist for Enterprise search Exalead, the international publishing house Wolters Kluwer as well as the non-profit NGO Open Knowledge Foundation.
For companies and organizations owning large datasets of public interest and interested in publishing and interlinking these on the Data Web, the LOD2 partners offer a Linked Open Data Starter Service (LODS). The application deadline for this free consulting and development support is 15th of December 2010. Further information is available from the LOD2 website http://lod2.eu.