RDF 1.1 and the Future of Government Transparency


Following the newly minted "recommendation" status of RDF 1.1, Michael C. Daconta of GCN has asked, "What does this mean for open data and government transparency?" Daconta writes, "First, it is important to highlight the JSON-LD serialization format.  JSON is a very simple and popular data format, especially in modern Web applications.  Furthermore, JSON is a concise format (much more so than XML) that is well-suited to represent the RDF data model.  An example of this is Google adopting JSON-LD for marking up data in Gmail, Search and Google Now.  Second, like the rebranding of RDF to 'linked data' in order to capitalize on the popularity of social graphs, RDF is adapting its strong semantics to other communities by separating the model from the syntax.  In other words, if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain."


He continues, "Finally, in relation to government transparency, these updates will make it easier for the government to publish public data (and federal records) in a format that enables and preserves a 'chain of authority.'  Let me explain this concept more fully as it is important. Online information, by itself and without corroboration, is inherently untrustworthy.  Think about it – anyone, authoritative or not, can assert anything on the Internet.  For instance, in this article (which is on the Internet) I can write: 'I just spotted Bigfoot in my backyard eating a ham sandwich!'  Ludicrous, yes – but it’s now out there as an assertion, available to search engines and increasing the noise in our data."


Read more here.

Image: Courtesy W3C