Understanding Linked Data

Linked Data is data that fits into a “cloud” of diverse data sources — whether those sources are published world-readably on the Web (Linked Open Data) or behind a corporate or institutional firewall (Linked Enterprise Data). For the purposes of the Learning Linked Data Project, Linked Data is data published in a form compatible with the Resource Description Framework (RDF) — a Semantic Web standard of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Inasmuch as RDF is a language designed for processing by machines, learners must acquire competence in the use of software tools for ingesting, visualizing, transforming, and interpreting its URI-based statements. Prerequisite to using any sort of tool, however, a learner must grasp underlying concepts such as:

13 thoughts on “Understanding Linked Data

  1. The most difficult part of teaching the concepts of linked data is how to let the students understand why linked is useful. A complete example that can show from raw RDF graphs to a human readable web page would be helpful for achieving this purpose. This example must be small and easy to replicate by learners following the steps instructed even if they have no idea how the whole thing works. Being able to see what it can turn out is a great motivating factor for figuring out how it works.

  2. good use cases are very important, through the use cases, we can understant the application of, the creation of , and the assumption of the linked data.

    • Yes, these are excellent intro for beginners, (like his RDFa video we used in teaching). Thanks for sharing the new links!
      I also used a real good one for my class: Video: Linked Data (and the Web of Data), by DERI and the Linked Data Research Center (LiDRC), Ireland.2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKfJ5onP5SQ

  3. While all the topics above are ultimately part of the whole picture, it’s important to approach LOD on a need-to-know basis. We find that most of our users are perfectly capable of creating and/or enriching linked data without even realizing they are doing it. The list above is the skeleton, but most users don’t need an X-ray. So, it would be good to have a clear understanding of the different user types and base the teaching on that.

  4. I introduce students to Linked Data in one lesson as a part of their classification & indexing course (LCC, DDC, LCSH). I think it is important for them to think about other ways of using subject/classification data. But because they are simply being introduced to the idea in one lesson and technical knowledge in the class really varies, I agree with Jian Qin and Lou Xiuming who have asked for good use cases or examples of the end results. I don’t have time to get into all the technical aspects, just a sense of why it is useful, the basics of RDF, and URIs. The non-technical students understand best if show end result first and then work back.

  5. The project seems to be very interesting and helpful. Students find it difficult to understand why Linked Data is important/helpful. A walk-through example of how Linked Data works and a usage case type of examples would be very significant to help users understand how it works and why it is important. Also it is important to explain elements of it such as RDF (why and how it is used). Often learners find it too complicated when they realized numerous elements are used for the whole structure. It would be nice to have a small hands-on exercise type of platform where learners can access and see what they will experience in Linked Data environment.

  6. I’m rookie on LOD and going to learn it in future. So I need simple and easy demos for it in order to get myself in. Hope you guys help.

  7. The six areas are very helpful for thinking about how the content relates to my courses in Digital Libraries and Information Retrieval. I think the conceptual overview is at a good level and would be very useful for both courses. “Principles of inferencing (reasoning)” should not unnecessarily complicate the introduction, however, covering the difference between a formal logical ontology and little-o ontology (RDF-based) is important. As I have commented elsewhere, tying the concepts to practice in an application-focused “language-lab” seems very important.

  8. 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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