W3C Data Activity Building the Web of Data

Illustration of the vision for digitization as a meme

5 stars for Linked DataData is increasingly important to society and W3C has a mature suite of Web standards with plans for further work on making it easier for average developers to work with graph data and knowledge graphs. Linked Data is about the use of URIs as names for things, the ability to dereference these URIs to get further information and to include links to other data. There are ever increasing sources of Linked Open Data on the Web, as well as data services that are restricted to the suppliers and consumers of those services.

The digital transformation of industry is seeking to exploit advanced digital technologies. This will facilitate businesses to integrate horizontally along the supply and value chains, and vertically from the factory floor to the office floor. W3C is seeking to make it easier to support enterprise wide data management and governance, reflecting the strategic importance of data to modern businesses.

Traditional approaches to data have focused on tabular databases (SQL/RDBMS), Comma Separated Value (CSV) files, and data embedded in PDF documents and spreadsheets. We're now in midst of a major shift to graph data with nodes and labelled directed links between them. Graph data is:

  • ◼ Faster than using SQL and associated JOIN operations
  • ◼ Better suited to integrating data from heterogeneous sources
  • ◼ Better suited to situations where the data model is evolving

RDF logoRDF is W3C's framework for graph data, and there is extensive work at W3C and elsewhere on vocabularies for a wide variety of application domains. W3C recently held a workshop on graph data to bring together practitioners from different communities, including SQL/RDBMS, Property Graphs, RDF, the Semantic Web and Linked Data. We're now in the process of launching a Graph Standardization Business Group to provide a business perspective with use cases and requirements, to coordinate technical standards work and liaisons with external organisations. Currently active technical standards groups include the JSON-LD Working Group, the Dataset Exchange Working Group, the Spatial Data on the Web Interest Group and many data related W3C Community Groups, including the Schema.org CG which acts as a forum for discussing all changes, additions and extensions to the schema.org vocabulary for smart web search results.

Related activities include the Web of Things, and the Automotive and Web activity. W3C is holding a Workshop on Data Models for Transportation on 12-13 September 2019 in Palo Alto, hosted by Uber.

W3C gratefully acknowledges support from the European Commission for participation in a number of projects, e.g. Create-IoT, Big Data Europe (Linked Data), Boost 4.0 (Big data in Industry 4.0) and SPECIAL (Linked Data for data privacy management).

Questions? Contact Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>, W3C Data Activity Lead.