Published on October 5th, 2012 | by Adrian Stevenson0
The Winner Takes it All? -APIs and Linked Data Battle It Out
I got my first conference opportunity to talk about the WW1 project this week at EMTACL ‘Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries’ in Trondheim, Norway. I was co-presenting ‘The Winner Takes it All? – APIs and Linked Data Battle It Out’ with my other half, Jane Stevenson. The abstract outlines what we talked about, so I’ve quoted a snippet here:
“Although we see an increasing number of Linked Data sets becoming available, there are still many vocal ‘dissenters’ who don’t believe that Linked Data technology will gain sufficient traction and become widely adopted. Their dissent typically revolves around the argument that Linked Data is complex, and that existing lightweight API approaches are easier to implement and more likely to be used by software developers.
We propose to compare these two alternative ways of making data available on the Web. Are they conflicting or are they complimentary? Is there room for both? Do they achieve different things?
We will look at two UK open data projects; ‘Linking Lives’ and the ‘World War One Discovery Project’, in order to compare these approaches…”
The talk went really well, getting some of the most positive post presentation responses we’ve had, so it seemed our ‘Punch and Judy’ presentation format worked. Thanks to Herbert Van De Sompel, Karen Coyle and others for their respective thumbs up. We figured this much twittered debate (you know who you are) would make a good topic and it appears we got that right. I think we did a good job of presenting some of the pros and cons of each approach as the situation exists now. Our (I hope not too cosy) conclusion was roughly along the lines that lightweight APIs present a quick and pragmatic solution relative to linked data at the moment, given that there are still too few tools to help with the implementation of linked data. However, the promise of linked data does offer significant advantages if it becomes an established way of doing things, and it could ultimately be easier in the long run, especially when there’s a need to integrate diverse datasets. I’ve embedded our slides at the bottom of the post.
The conference was really excellent across the board. Jane’s written about Herbert’s excellent keynote on the Archives Hub blog. We also had some really useful conversations about the nitty gritty of implementing linked data with Rurik Greenall and Richard Wallis (ex–Talis now at OCLC). I had a particularly useful conversation with Richard about using Apache Hadoop for searching the text literals of RDF triples to enhance linked data searchability, something I’ll be trying to find out more about.
Top job EMTACL 12 organisers!