The Semantic Interoperability Conference was held on June 21 this year at The Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin. It was a most interesting conference, the main theme of which was Achieving Interoperability Through Reuse. Conference Speakers presented case studies on many topics including the topic of Open standards for e-Government and the evolution of eGov Core Vocabularies, presented by Phil Archer of W3C, the Semantic Operability of Basic Data in the Italian Public Sector, presented by Giorgio Lodi of Agenzia per L’Italia Digitale- AGgID and publishing and linking government data.
Active discussions were held on the subjects of linked data and core vocabularies. One conference speaker, Leda Bargiotti of the Publications Office of the EU introduced the topic of DCAT Application Profile, a specification for describing public sector datasets in Europe. The specification is based on the Data Catalogue vocabulary.
The use of the semantic web was also discussed in the context of maintaining the quality of EU statistics. In his paper entitled ‘Maintaining the Quality of EU Statistics While Enabling Re-Use’, Marco Pellegrino of Eurostat suggested that semantically linked data could lead to a standardization of statistical data and faster provision of more accurate statistical information. Pellegrino also made reference to RDF vocabularies, linked data and RDF Data Cube Vocabulary based on SDMX. He highlighted several issues to consider if updating a statistical database in RDF format, including a possible loss of control of ownership of the statistical data, possible conflicting statistical figures occurring when the database is updated in RDF, and a broader definition of raw or confidential data held by the body updating the database in RDF than the body processing the statistical data.
Jochen Hummel and Gudrún Magnúsdóttir of ESTeam AB presented a case study of the use of the semantics and language technology in TMClass to harmonise trademark registrations. The organizational benefits of making the European Trademark System interoperable with semantics include the seamless and borderless intellectual property registration of a trademark in any of the official languages of the EU. A commercial benefit of this interoperability is that an individual’s or organization’s trademark can be described in their native language.
Finally, Richard Cyganiak of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway spoke about a project to publish and link government data using the Open Data Pipeline (ODP), a web based publishing platform. Richard discussed how input data, such as .csv or excel files, was mapped onto ODP using D2RQ, a database-to-RDF mapping tool.
Perhaps the key message put across from the case studies presented at the conference was that semantic interoperability between public sector datasets and datasets within EU institutions can facilitate the provision of access to cross-border EU datasets, access to EU policy and data sharing.