Spotlight on PRELIDA - Preserving Linked Data

14 May 2013 Comment

Today's blog introduces you to a great European Commission-funded project called Preserving Linked Data, or 'PRELIDA' for short. The project launched in January this year and is now looking forward to its first major working group meeting in June. A great opportunity, we thought, to tell you what it's all about.

The project aims to build bridges across the digital preservation and linked data communities, with the view of

  • making the linked data community aware of existing outcomes of the digital preservation community; and
  • working out the challenges of preserving linked data, posing new research questions for the preservation community, and developing a roadmap for addressing them.

The sheer amount of data offered and consumed on the internet, and the volume of data being digitally stored and exchanged, is growing exponentially. This generates the potential for many new types of products and services, and a whole new industry implementing services on top of large data streams. The impact of this emerging economic sector - the data economy - may soon outrank the current importance of the software industry.

Carlo Meghini, project coordinator and long-standing partner on Europeana projects, says, 'An important part of the data economy is the linked data movement, which is about using the web to connect related data that was previously not linked, or using the web to lower the barriers to linking data. With the increasing adoption of the linked data paradigm by governments and organisations, the requirements in terms of quality, usability and maturity increase. In order to continue to develop and increase uptake of linked data as a platform for publishing open data, we need to address the issues surrounding preserving linked data. For example, they are different to other data sets in that they are in RDF, they use URIs as identifiers, and they rely on shared vocabularies. Whilst these are all good features of linked data, they are likely to create preservation problems that other types of data do not have.'

Carlo Meghini, project coordinator. Image taken from a video lecture by Carlo on data preservation.

The PRELIDA team is convinced that the preservation problem of linked data can only be solved satisfactorily if the digital preservation and linked data communities come together with their complementary skills and technologies. So an important task of PRELIDA is to raise awareness of existing preservation solutions and to facilitate their uptake.

The project will produce a report on the current state of linked data and its preservation needs, and will develop a roadmap focusing on the most promising research paths, and the resulting problems to be addressed. This research will drive the scientific and technological development of the field, as well as future research programmes that the European Commission may wish to fund.

The challenges of preserving linked data are expected to be related to intrinsic features of linked data, including their structuring, interlinking, dynamicity and distribution. PRELIDA will implement its aims through a coherent collection of activities, including a working group, open consultations, holding three dedicated workshops, two summer schools, and a broad dissemination action, addressing the scientific community, technology providers, key user groups, and policy-makers.

The main partners for the project are CNR-ISTI (Italian National Research Council of the Institute of Science and Information Technology), APA (the Alliance for Permanent Access), the University of Huddersfield in the UK and the University of Innsbruck in Austria. As a leader in linked data thinking, Europeana is involved with PRELIDA in a sub-contracting capacity.

Members of PRELIDA are looking forward to the first workshop of their working group. The group is made up of around 20 world experts and has been formed to help PRELIDA achieve its goals. It will meet three times during the course of the project. The first meeting takes place in Tirrenia, Italy on 25-27 June. Then in September, the project will be represented at the European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC) Summer School in Kalamaki, Crete, running seminars on the topic of preserving linked data. We look forward to reporting on the discussions and developments that come out of these events.

For more information on PRELIDA, go to their website or follow them on Twitter @Prelida_Project