Inventory of Learning Topics

The final version of the Inventory of Learning Topics, with modifications in light of comments received, is posted here:

This document presents a draft inventory of “learning topics” to be covered by learners who want to understand, process, and create Linked Data. This draft is the product of a face-to-face workshop held in February 2012 by the Learning Linked Data Project. The Learning Linked Data Project, funded with a one-year planning grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) [1], relates learning topics to various types of software utilities needed to support teaching or self-instruction, in both university and professional training contexts.

The project partners plan to propose a follow-on project in 2013 for integrating the tools, thus identified, into a coherent platform.

Inasmuch as Linked Data is based on data structures of a “linguistic” nature, the guiding metaphor for the Learning Linked Data Project is that of a “language lab.” Specifically, the project aims at outlining only how the language lab should be equipped, e.g., what tools are needed for mastering the learning topics. How exactly Linked Data should be taught — the design of curricula or the sequence and selection of course materials for various audiences — is largely out of scope for the project in the same way that the pedagogical approaches or learning outcomes expected for particular courses in French or Chinese are largely beyond the scope of designing a language lab. To use a cooking metaphor, the project aims at outfitting a kitchen with utensils usable for preparing a wide range of meals.

While analogies to natural language or to cooking may help learners approach the material, different analogies will work for different audiences. As a matter of principle, the project decided to use the native terminology of RDF in outlining the tool platform — however foreign that terminology may be to many of the intended users — and leave it to instructors to bridge any conceptual gaps. The working definition of Linked Data used by the project (and repeated below), along with the working definitions of other key concepts, may be found in a separate Glossary.

This draft has been posted on the Web prior to a public comment period, which will run through June 30, 2012. Please note that until the blog is opened to comment, this document may change. The public is invited to comment on the concept of a tool platform for learning Linked Data or on the details of this outline. The project envisions the platform as a basis for the development of course modules by people involved in both formal and informal teaching and learning environments, so comments about how such a platform would be useful in particular environments would be especially welcome.


6 thoughts on “Inventory of Learning Topics

  1. You should take a look at the “WissKI” project/system, which deals with all these topics and bears some innovative approaches:

    Since it is completely build upon semantic web technologies, it provides not only interfaces for “searching and querying Linked Data” and “creating and manipulating RDF” but also a module for the “visualization” of RDF data. Therefore it can be said that WissKI is a “Linked Data application”. It is available as open source (

    • Thank you, Georg, for the very helpful pointer! Great to see the source on github too – we want our own project to build on or contribute to existing efforts such as this.

  2. I will be offering a week-long session on Linked Data at the 2013 Digital Humanities Winter Institute ( I am interested in learning how to contribute to the Learning Linked Data initiative and/or pilot any tools/modules that become available in the next few months.

  3. Email comment from Steven Miller:
    I’m teaching a new course for our MLIS program on “RDF, Ontologies, and the Semantic Web.” I am teaching the conceptual aspects, using a textbook (Antoniou & van Harmelen), various documents and reports (such as LLD), looking at examples, and using Protege for creating ontologies.
    But I have no IT background, and my class is aimed at students with no IT or computer science backgrounds. It would like to incorporate more “active” tools for showing how to query the linked data we create and retrieve results, preferably through a “user-firendly” search interface rather than writing SPARQL queries. Also tools for creating and manipulating RDF, visualization, use cases, etc. Really everything listed on the page .
    I don’t have any specific comments other than that any tools that can be shared and that are fairly usable without heavy IT knowledge would greatly enhance my teaching of linked data!

  4. Pingback: Linked Data in the library: an introduction « mmit blog

  5. The final version of the Inventory of Learning Topics, with modifications in light of comments received, is posted here:

    The project sponsors are grateful for the input received so far, and they invite additional comments on the page linked above. All additional input will inform future implementation plans for the Learning Linked Data project.

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