The Linked Data Showcase (LDS) pilot: the value of interlinking data

Why is Linked Data relevant for public administrations?

The benefits of using well-described data and sharing them through a common API with a common query language are generally known.

The willingness to use the Resource Description Framework (RDF) to describe data, to publish data through SPARQL endpoints and to interconnect to other systems using Linked Data APIs is present, in general, in national governments and in the EU in particular. The ISA² programme recognises the potential for eGovernment in Linked Data and encourages its adoption.

However, linked data is not yet the common standard among public administrations. This can be explained mainly for two reasons:

  1. The availability of useful linked data sources is limited
  2. Finding solution providers with the necessary Linked Data skills or an interest to invest in linked data technologies is difficult.

Therefore, there is a need to show case the value of linked data and inspire public administrations to get started in building their Linked Data environment.

What are the benefits of Linked Data?

Building a linked data environment brings the following benefits for public administrations:

  • Access to virtual knowledge graphs
  • Enhanced potential for automation
  • Shorter time from idea to implementation
  • Quicker adaptability to requirements
  • More flexibility for specific user needs

What are the purpose and the objectives of the pilot?

The main purpose of the pilot is to show the value for public administrations of interlinking data from various sources, such as base registries.

The pilot has two main objectives:

1. Show the value of building a Linked Data environment

The pilot demonstrates how Linked Data enables is enabling public organisations to connect existing data sources across Member States and to extend the access of the user community to new data sets by integrating data from different sources.

It provides uses cases for Linked Data by exploring the use of RDF for semantically enhanced data and APIs as interoperability platform for these data.

2. Help navigate the Linked Data world

The pilot supports Member States in their capability of publishing data as linked data by developing a reference architecture.

Moreover, the pilot shares guidelines and good practices that have been identified for:

  • Back-end solutions
  • Interoperability layer
  • Quality and security
  • User interfaces
  • Semantic standards

What is the approach?

A reference architecture of Linked Data, composed of basic elements addressing essential topics, will be built:

  • Non-functional aspects covering
    • the utilisation of semantic standards
    • security : how to maintain a high level of security while maintaining an acceptable level of performance, or how to ensure Linked Data is GDPR-compliant)
    • linked data quality
  • Back-end, intended to manage technical and operational aspects such as
    • metadata management
    • modelling
    • back-end specifications
    • RDB to graph mechanisms: how to get from an RDB environment to an RDF triple store or a hybrid model
    • technical interaction and APIs
    • performance and scalability
  • Front-end, covering consumption-related mechanisms and use of Linked Data
    • Customisable reporting: for integration with analytic tools
    • Dashboard: analytic capabilities and KPIs
    • Explorative views and visualisation of LoD
    • Annotation of web pages
    • Simple serializations for RDF: (<> RDF/XML, or use SPARQL queries)
    • Open API specifications: for interoperability at the user level
  • Services: business services to be provided
    • M2M publication services
    • M2H publication services
    • Technical formatting services
    • Aggregation services
    • Platform integration services: (e.g.
    • Content management services

The integration of authoritative sources (e.g. base registries) has been selected by the pilot participants as the scenario for guiding the high-level design of the reference architecture. The different components and requirements of the reference architecture are explored for the specific use case of interlinking of authoritative Open Linked Data sources to publish enhanced data sets (non-functional aspects, back end, front end, services).

A proof of concept will be developed to demonstrate the technical implementability of the solution.

Both public and non-public data sets are in scope of the analysis.

Who is involved in the pilot?

Linked Data experts from public administrations in the following nine European countries are involved in the execution of the cross-border pilot: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Slovenia and the Netherlands.

On the side of the ISA² programme, technical experts from the SEMIC team are providing the capability and coordinate the implementation of the pilot. 

What is the expected outcome?

The LDS pilot started in October 2018 and will be executed until October 2019.

As outcome, the pilot will deliver recommendations and guidelines, the general architecture and technical implementation of the general architecture (open source) for the chosen scenario.