Best Practices Discussion Summary

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Discussion Date

Preliminary discussion took place at the W3C Government Linked Data Working Group First F2F June 29-30, 2011.

Interested in working on this

Note: The group will produce one or more Recommendations which address the following issues:

  • Michael Hausenblas (DERI), Bernadette Hyland as Editors (Editor's Draft)
  • Michael Hausenblas (DERI) - Vocab
  • Ghislain (INSTITUT TELECOM) - Vocab
  • David Price (TopQuadrant) - Vocab, Legacy Data
  • Boris Villazón-Terrazas(UPM) - Vocab - URI Construction
  • John Erikson (RPI)- URI construction, Versioning
  • Dean Allemang (TopQuadrant) - Versioning, Training?
  • Cory Casanove - Versioning
  • Bernadette Hyland (3 Round Stones) - Linked Data Cookbook
  • Martin Alvarez (CTIC) - URI Construction
  • John Sheridan (OPSI, UK) - Procurement
  • George Thomas (Health & Human Services, US) - Procurement


  • Procurement

Upon joining the WG:

  • Hadley Beeman - Versioning (related to Data "Cube")
  • Anne Washington (George Mason University) - Stability


Linked Data approaches address key requirements of open government by providing a family of international standards for the publication, dissemination and reuse of structured data. Further, Linked Data, unlike previous data formatting and publication approaches, provides a simple mechanism for combining data from multiple sources across the Web.

In an era of reduced local, state and federal budgets, there is strong economic motivation to reduce waste and duplication in data management and integration. Linked Open Data is a viable approach to publishing governmental data to the public, but only if it adheres to some basic principles.

Purpose of Best Practices Recommendation(s)

The following are some motivations for the need for publishing Recommendation(s) and Working Notes, identified in the GLD WG Charter.

  1. The overarching objective is to provide best practices and guidance to create of high quality, re-usable Linked Open Data (LOD).

More specifically, best practices are aimed at assisting government departments/agencies/bureaus, and their contractors, vendors and researchers, to publish high quality, consistent data sets using W3C Standards to increase interoperability.

Best practices are intended to be a methodical approach for the creation, publication and dissemination of governmental Linked Data. Best practices from the GLD WG shall include:

  1. Description of the full life cycle of a Government Linked Data project, starting with identification of suitable data sets, procurement, modeling, vocabulary selection, through publication and ongoing maintenance.
  2. Definition of known, proven steps to create and maintain government data sets using Linked Data principles.
  3. Guidance in explaining the value proposition for LOD to stakeholders, managers and executives.
  4. Assist the Working Group in later stages of the Standards Process, in order to solicit feedback, use cases, etc.

Organized by the Charter

From section 2.2 of the GLD Charter.

The Working Group, facilitated by the Best Practices Task Force, will produce Recommendation(s), (a Working Group Note / website, where noted), for the following:

  1. Procurement.
  2. Vocabulary Selection.
  3. URI Construction.
  4. Versioning.
  5. Stability.
  6. Legacy Data.
  7. Cookbook. (Working Group Note or website rather than Recommendation).

2.2.1 Best Practices for Procurement

Procurement. Specific products and services involved in governments publishing linked data will be defined, suitable for use during government procurement. Just as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines allow governments to easily specify what they mean when they contract for an accessible Website, these definitions will simplify contracting for data sites and applications.

2.2.2 Best Practices for Vocabulary Selection

The group will provide advice on how governments should select RDF vocabulary terms (URIs), including advice as to when they should mint their own. This advice will take into account issues of stability, security, and long-term maintenance commitment, as well as other factors that may arise during the group's work.

2.2.3 URI Construction

The group will specify how to create good URIs for use in government linked data. Inputs include Cool URIs for the Semantic Web, Designing URI Sets for the UK Public Sector (PDF), and Creating URIs ( Guidance will be produced not only for minting URIs for governmental entities, such as schools or agencies, but also for vocabularies, concepts, and datasets.

2.2.4 Versioning

The group will specify how to publish data which has multiple versions, including variations such as:

  1. data covering different time periods
  2. corrected data about the same time period
  3. the same data published using different vocabularies, formats, and presentation styles
  4. retracting published data

2.2.5 Stability

The group will specify how to publish data so that others can rely on it being available in perpetuity, persistently archived if necessary.

2.2.6 Legacy Data

The group will produce specific advice concerning how to expose legacy data, data which is being maintained in pre-existing (non-linked-data) systems.

2.2.7 Linked Data Cookbook

The group will produce a collection of advice on smaller, more specific issues, where known solutions exist to problems collected for the Community Directory. This document is to be published as a Working Group Note, or website, rather than a Recommendation. It may, instead, become part of the Community Directory site. The Linked Data Cookbook for Government.

Website Organization

Basic features

Best Practices may leverage the SWEO Semantic Web Case Studies and Use Cases approach.

Design Goals

  1. Must be relevant for government (local, state, federal, international)
  2. Self-maintaining over time
  3. Data published in a W3C RDF serialization (or submitted W3C Standard)

Possible Technologies to Use in the Site

  • Website technologies options suggested:
  • Callimachus-driven form-based site?
  • wiki (Mediawiki or otherwise)
  • Others? Please suggest others.