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Data Activity Statement

The Data Activity promotes the Web as an intelligent data platform rather than as a simple distribution system for files that contain flat data with minimal description and/or with very little scope for re-use outside the original context. It enables people to use the tools, concepts and workflows with which they are already familiar to benefit from the network effect created by the axioms of openness and interoperability that underpin the Web. Value can be added to data independently by anyone at any point in the chain from creation to publication to interpretation to consumption using standardized methods (including standards created outside W3C). The working groups included in this Activity represent steps to address these aims directly, bringing the benefits of Linked Data within reach of everyone. Under the Data Activity, work will continue to complete and enhance the Semantic Web in the light of growing real-world experience and demands.

Highlights Since the Previous Advisory Committee Meeting

The Data Activity was approved by the AC in December 2013 and with it, two new working groups were chartered. In addition, work begun under the previous Semantic Web and eGov Activities was continued and mostly completed.

RDF and Linked Data

2014 began with the completion of several Recommendations. Firstly JSON-LD, followed a month later by a suite of Notes and Recommendations that comprise 'RDF 1.1.' At last, Turtle, TriG, N-Triples and N-Quads are Recommendations along with updated RDF Semantics. The RDF WG helpfully provided a What’s New in RDF 1.1 Note. These documents represent a huge amount of work by the WG members but, perhaps even more importantly, they capture many years of real world experience of using the technology.

The Government Linked Data WG also completed its work in January with the publication of its Best Practices for Publishing Linked Data Note and three vocabularies as Recommendations.

Finally the Linked Data Platform Spec is now at Candidate Recommendation and the WG is already thinking about what it wants to see in LDP 2.

Data on the Web Best Practices

The mission of the Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group is:

  1. to develop the open data ecosystem, facilitating better communication between developers and publishers;
  2. to provide guidance to publishers that will improve consistency in the way data is managed, thus promoting the re-use of data;
  3. to foster trust in the data among developers, whatever technology they choose to use, increasing the potential for genuine innovation.

The guidance will take two forms:

This WG will also be supported by a series of 5 workshops run under an EC-funded 'Thematic Network,' called Share-PSI, that includes more than 40 partners from 25 countries, focused on implementation of the revised European PSI Directive.

The scope of the WG is substantial and could be seen as all-encompassing. Therefore it is no surprise that, since its inaugural meeting in January, some time has been taken to establish exactly what the group will focus on, including at its first f2f meeting in London at the end of March. This is being done, as you'd expect, via a collection of use cases from which challenges are being derived. A first public working draft of the emerging use cases document is expected by the end of May.

The vocabulary work and work on the actual best practices document is under way and the group expects to make significant progress in the coming months. It is notable that the DWBP WG includes a substantial number of Brazilian members. The three co-chairs (Hadley Beeman, Steve Adler and Yaso Córdova) all bring different perspectives to the group and have found the way to work best and lead the group together.

CSV on the Web

The mission of the CSV on the Web Working Group is to provide technologies whereby data dependent applications on the Web can provide higher interoperability when working with datasets using the CSV (Comma-Separated Values) or similar formats. The group will define mechanisms for interpreting a set of CSVs as relational data. This will include the definition of a vocabulary for describing tables expressed as CSV and locatable on the web, and the relationships between them.

Now is a good time for standardization because there has already been some experimentation by organizations such as the Open Knowledge Foundation and Google but the relevant parties are not (yet) locked in to particular solutions.

The CSVW WG has already completed two of its first public working drafts: its Use Cases & Requirements and Model for Tabular Data and Metadata on the Web. new versions of these documents, and a first public working draft of Generating RDF from Tabular Data on the Web are expected by the time of the AC meeting.

This is a relatively small group tackling a focused set of problems and is making swift progress in doing so.

Vocabulary Management

The Data Activity allocates a small amount of staff time to supporting the development of vocabularies. The Web Schemas Task Force continues to be very active, particularly in the development of the vocabulary. The team is looking into ways of increasing tool support for wider vocabulary development and promotion of multilingualism.

Upcoming Activity Highlights

Geospatial Data

On behalf of the Smart Open Data project, W3C, in partnership with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), the UK Government Linked Data Working Group, Google and Ordnance Survey, ran a workshop on Linking Geospatial Data. This was highly successful and revealed a need for a new WG to operate in this area. In order to be most effective, such a WG would ideally need to be run jointly by W3C and the Open Geospatial Consortium. Active discussions are under way to make that happen. If successful, those discussions will lead to a group that will, among other things, complete the standrdization of the Semantic Sensor Network Ontology and the Time Ontology in OWL. Subject to the agreement and engagement of the relevant authors and communities, W3C would also like to standardize GeoJSON and GeoJSON-LD. Finally there is some work to do around agreeing on a common spatial ontology and best practice for geospatial data in the Web.

RDF Data Shapes

Finally work is continuing on gathering support for a new WG to work on RDF Data Shapes, a.k.a Application Profiles, Resource Shapes, Shape Expressions a standard way to encode rules such as "every instance of this class must have the following properties and the value of property X must be a skos:Concept in scheme Y. It is hoped that the charter for this WG will be available for AC review imminently and that the group can have its first face to face meeting at TPAC.

Summary of Activity Structure

GroupChairTeam ContactCharter
Data Activity Coordination GroupPhil ArcherChartered until 30 July 2016
Semantic Web Health Care and Life Sciences Interest Group
Michel DumontierEric Prud'hommeauxChartered until 31 July 2016
Semantic Web Interest GroupDan BrickleyIvan HermanChartered until 30 July 2016
Linked Data Platform (LDP) Working Group
Arnaud Le HorsEric Prud'hommeaux, Yves LafonChartered until 31 July 2015
Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group
Deirdre Lee, Hadley Beeman, Yaso Córdova, Steve AdlerPhil ArcherChartered until 30 July 2016
CSV on the Web Working Group
Dan Brickley, Jeni TennisonIvan HermanChartered until 31 August 2015
RDF Data Shapes Working Group
Arnaud Le HorsEric Prud'hommeauxChartered until 1 June 2017
Spatial Data on the Web Working Group
Kerry Taylor, Ed ParsonsPhil ArcherChartered until 31 December 2016

This Activity Statement was prepared for TPAC 2014 per section 5 of the W3C Process Document. Generated from group data.

Phil Archer, Data Activity Lead

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