The Semantic Web, Linked and Open Data
A Briefing Paper
By Lorna M. Campbell and Sheila MacNeill
The development of the Semantic Web has been a long running project championed by the inventor of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. It is built around his concept of the ‘Web of
data’ which means moving on from the existing document centric view of the Web to a data centric one. In this vision of the Web, data and the relationships between data are key. Coupled with these ongoing Semantic Web developments there has also been growing interest in the related areas of linked and open data.
Between 2009 and 2010 both the UK and US governments launched high profile projects to release a wide range of publicly funded government information as open data sets. There is considerable potential for the education sector to use and contribute to these data sets as they become available. There are also potential benefits for institutions in using the principles of open and linked data in a number of key areas such as institutional administration, teaching, learning and research. However, there is still a degree of confusion regarding the key concepts of the Semantic Web and linked and open data, as well as a range of views on approaches to implementation.
This briefing paper will provide a high level overview of key concepts relating to the Semantic Web, semantic technologies, linked and open data; along with references
to relevant examples and standards. The briefing is intended to provide a starting point for those within the teaching and learning community who may have come across the concept of semantic technologies and the Semantic Web but who do not regard themselves as
experts and wish to learn more. The examples and links are intended as starting points for further exploration.