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Category: linked-data

More Speakers for our 'Data-Driven Decisions' event: Manchester 26 May

by Sarah on 05 May 2016 in announcements, data, events, linked-data, open

With just a couple of weeks to go ‘til our Data-Driven Decisions event in Manchester, we’ve released a new wave of tickets and have recently announced these fab speakers. Read More »

Data-Driven Decisions: 26th May in Manchester. Speakers and Tickets

by Sarah on 21 Mar 2016 in events, linked-data, open-data

On the 26th May 2016, we'll be hosting Data-Driven Decisions at HOME in Manchester. This one day event is for anyone interested in how national or local open data can be used to support better-informed decision making and will be relevant to open data from all over the UK. Hear from the Scottish Government's Gregor Boyd, MyNHS Product Lead Julie Fidler, DCLG's Open Data Strategist Steve Peters and OD Camp Founder Jamie Whyte. Early Bird tickets available now! Read More »

Open Data Camp UK

by Sarah on 11 Feb 2015 in linked-data, open-data

We're proud to be sponsoring Open Data Camp UK, a two day event devoted to Open Data held later this month. And last week we wrote a guest post for them all about what linked open data really means and some of the practical advantages it has. Read More »

GMDSP Awarded for Innovation

by Sarah on 10 Dec 2014 in linked-data, manchester, open-data, projects

Recently the Greater Manchester Data Synchronisation Programme won an award celebrating it as a leading example of how information can be used innovatively and effectively for real benefits. Read More »

The Hampshire Hub Beta

by Sarah on 24 Nov 2014 in hampshire-hub, linked-data, open-data

This year we've been helping Hampshire County Council, and public service providers in the area, to create the Hampshire Hub and we're happy to announce the first release this week. The Hub is an open, linked data platform and, although there's more to come on it, the beta is already developing well Read More »

Joined Up Data for Joined Up Problem Solving

by Sarah on 05 Nov 2014 in dclg, linked-data, open-data, the-odi

This week, the Open Data Institute published a post I wrote on how open, linked data can improve collaboration and extend data reach. In it, I focus on DCLG's relaunched and rebranded site, OpenDataCommunities. Read More »

Swirrl awarded new Scottish Government linked open data project

by Sarah on 03 Nov 2014 in announcements, linked-data, open-data, scottish-government

We’re happy to announce that we’ve been awarded a contract with the Scottish Government’s Statistics Group to help them create a linked open data platform. Earlier this year we worked on, a pilot study designed to showcase how linked, open data could power smarter, more transparent and efficient data use. Now the Scottish Government taking the next step and creating a new Scottish open data platform, based around Linked Data. Read More »

PublishMyData 2.0: Features for Technical Users

by Sarah on 21 Oct 2014 in announcements, linked-data, publishmydata

This is the second, more technical, post about the new features and improvements to PublishMyData. In it I'll be looking at Expert Mode; SPARQL query features and redesigned dataset and vocabulary pages. Read More »

PublishMyData is Evolving: 2.0 is out!

by Sarah on 20 Oct 2014 in announcements, linked-data, publishmydata

It's been a busy summer, and there are a good few changes to PublishMyData, so this is the first of two posts about what we've built and how it helps you as an open data user. Read More »

OpenDataCommunities relaunch with design refresh and improved data browsing

by Sarah on 11 Sep 2014 in announcements, dclg, linked-data, open-data, projects

This week we released a refreshed version of OpenDataCommunities, DCLG's linked open data site. It’s now stylistically more in line with the main brand, we've improved the navigation, there's a blog and we've upgraded the data platform to the v2 of our PublishMyData platform, making it easier to access and use the data you want. Read More »

Linked Development: Linked Data from CABI and DFID

by Sarah on 08 Aug 2014 in announcements, linked-data, projects, publishmydata

In March we launched the beta version of Linked Development - an open, linked data site for CABI and the DFID which provides data all about international develeopment projects and research. Read More »

The hard graft of Linked Data ETL

by Rick M on 16 Jul 2014 in dapaas, etl, grafter, linked-data, open-data, opencube, rdf

We're helping regional and national governments publish the highest quality open data imaginable, whilst helping consumers access and use this data in rich and meaningful ways. But allowing a range of users to repeatably and reliably produce high quality Linked Data requires a new approach to Extract, Transform, Load (ETL)... Read More »

Open Data Communities: New Features

by Sarah on 09 Jul 2014 in dclg, linked-data, open-data, projects

Over the last few months we’ve added some new features on the Open Data Communities site that we continue to run and develop for DCLG. The Statistics Selector and the Geography Selector both make it easy to cherry pick and combine the exact data you need from across all the datasets on the site... Read More »

GMDSP: Phase 2

by Sarah on 26 Jun 2014 in announcements, linked-data, manchester, open-data, projects, publishmydata

The GMDSP project is entering a new phase after the successful first release of the data at the hack event held in March. Read More »

The Hampshire Hub: open and linked data for Hampshire

by Sarah on 10 Jun 2014 in announcements, hampshire-hub, linked-data, open-data

Some great news: We've recently been awarded a new project called the Hampshire Hub - a partnership project for Hampshire County Council and public service providers in and around the area. Read More »

Open Cube: Making publishing statistics easier

by Sarah on 24 Apr 2014 in announcements, linked-data, opencube, projects, publishmydata, visualisation

We’ve recently started work on another European collaborative project called OpenCube. This project’s all about making open statistical data easier to publish, link and reuse so it can reach its full potential. Read More »

Linking up Manchester's data

by Sarah on 11 Mar 2014 in announcements, linked-data, manchester, open-data, projects, publishmydata

We’ve recently agreed to work on an exciting open data project called the GMDSP (Greater Manchester Data Synchronisation Programme). As the name suggests, we’ll be working with authorities in the Manchester area including Manchester City Council, Salford City Council and Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council. Read More »

Open Data Scotland: a Linked Data pilot study for the Scottish Government

by Sarah on 20 Jan 2014 in linked-data, open-data, projects, scotland, scottish-government, visualisation

Last month we launched Open Data Scotland - a pilot site built to showcase how Linked Open Data can make for smarter, more efficient data use. Read More »

Who's using the Internet for social good?

by Sarah on 15 Jan 2014 in linked-data, projects, publishmydata, rdf, visualisation

We've been working on a Linked Data project for Nesta which is all about organisations and activities across Europe using the internet for social good. Read More »

Our new 'Example Data' feature: helping you understand the structure of datasets

by Sarah on 17 Oct 2013 in linked-data, publishmydata, rdf

We’ve recently created another new feature for PublishMyData, which gives users a sneaky peak at the detail of each dataset Read More »

Take your brain to another dimension

by Sarah on 16 Aug 2013 in linked-data, publishmydata

We've recently created a rather nifty feature for our PublishMyData platform. It allows you to select, and then view, any two dimensions of your choosing from a multidimensional dataset. Read More »

Know Your Audience: Encouraging use of Linked Data

by Sarah on 05 Aug 2013 in linked-data, opinion, rdf

Linked Data rocks. It’s the ideal technology for representing data on the web. However that message is spreading relatively slowly and it’s not being used as much as it could be. As Linked Data fans, what can we do about it? Read More »

Swirrl Blog: A Retrospective

by Ric on 29 Jul 2013 in announcements, learning, linked-data, opinion, rdf

As part of our recent website redesign, we decided to consolidate some of our other blogs into one place, here at, rather than try to keep up a regular blogging routine in multiple places. While we were going through all our old posts I came a across a few that I thought would be worth revisiting. Read More »

Hampshire Land Supply Linked Data

by Ric on 11 Mar 2013 in hampshire, linked-data, open-data, projects, publishmydata, visualisation

A short time ago we produced a Linked Data site for Hampshire County Council. We modelled their planned home building plans over the next six years as Linked Data and published it through PublishMyData. Read More »

Read and Write RDF in your Rails apps

by Ric on 05 Mar 2013 in code, learning, linked-data, open-source, publishmydata, rdf, ruby, tripod

As we've long been promising, we've started to release some open source code to help people publish and consume Linked Open Data. The first component that we'd like to talk about is Tripod, an RDF and SPARQL ORM, designed for use in Ruby-on-Rails apps. Read More »

Swirrl awarded new DCLG Linked Open Data contract

by Ric on 04 Mar 2013 in dclg, linked-data, open-data, projects

We are pleased to announce that we were recently awarded a contract to work on a production version of DCLG's open data initiative, OpenDataCommunities. Read More »

SmartJourney: Realtime Travel and weather for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

by Ric on 21 Dec 2012 in aberdeen, linked-data, mobile, open-data, projects, publishmydata, scotland, visualisation

A couple of weeks ago, we launched SmartJourney. Built in collaboration with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, and part-funded by Nesta, SmartJourney combines crowd-sourced and official information and weather and travel conditions in the North-East of Scotland. Read More »

Linked Open Data Business Models

by Ric on 11 Jul 2012 in business, linked-data, open-data, opinion

In the wake of our respected competitor, Talis, retiring from the general Linked Data software and consulting market, I thought it would be a good time to explain how we perceive the market, and position ourselves at Swirrl. Read More »

UK government open data white paper

by Bill on 29 Jun 2012 in linked-data, open-data, policy

Interesting news from the UK Cabinet Office yesterday, announcing their new open data white paper, as well as departmental open data strategy documents. There is a lot there to digest, but I just wanted to highlight some points that we think are particularly notable. Read More »

Universal Music Artist Gateway with RDF powered by Swirrl

by Ric on 08 Jun 2012 in linked-data, open-data, projects, rdf

Universal Music launched their Umusic UK Artist Gateway last month. Because of our experience in the area of Linked Data and RDF, were brought into the project to help with the RDF API for artists and releases. Read More »

Energy use Open Data for Scottish Government Buildings

by Ric on 08 Jun 2012 in internet-of-things, linked-data, open-data, projects, scotland, scottish-government

A project that we carried out last autumn for the Scottish Government went live a couple of months ago, as part of the a platform for disclosure on the sustainability performance of the Scottish Government Estate. We worked closely with the Head of Data Standards at the Scottish Government, to put together a Linked Data site holding half-hourly electricity and gas consumption data from Scottish Government Buildings. Read More »

Visualising Open Data on local authorities

by Bill on 21 May 2012 in dclg, linked-data, open-data, projects, visualisation

To help illustrate what kind of data visualisations were possible with the DCLG's new linked open data site, and demonstrate one approach to doing it, we built a Local Authority Dashboard. Read More »

New Linked Data Site for DCLG

by Ric on 02 May 2012 in dclg, linked-data, open-data, projects, publishmydata

We've been hard at work recently creating a new linked open data site for the UK Department for Communities and Local Government. This is a major overhaul and extension of the OpenDataCommunities site that we first set up last year, with a new design, lots more data and new features aimed at making access to the data easier. Read More »

Simple RDF Namespace Lookup

by Bill on 24 Apr 2012 in code, linked-data, rdf is a very handy little service that I use a lot. If you work with RDF a bit, you get to know the commonly used prefixes for ontology terms, such as rdfs:label, foaf:Person, owl:sameAs etc, but it's rare for me to be able to remember accurately what the full namespace is. Read More »

The (Ice) Cube Ontology

by Ric on 05 Apr 2012 in fun, linked-data, opinion, rdf

Over the last month, I've been working on a fairly meaty Linked Data project (more details of that project coming soon). Anyway, I tend to go through musical phases, and during this project I've been listening to a lot of 90s West-coast hip hop. My second son arrived in February, and this project required me to work a fair number of late nights. I think the lack of sleep has pushed my mind into a higher plane, allowing me to uncover something pretty big. Read More »

Understanding RDF serialisation formats

by Ric on 30 Jan 2012 in code, learning, linked-data, rdf

In this article, we'll see how to serialise a graph (i.e. a collection, or set) of RDF triples in different ways, and explore the advantages and disadvantages of each. Read More »

Linked Data and the Internet of Things

by Bill on 30 Jan 2012 in internet-of-things, linked-data, open-data, projects

On 1st March we'll be starting our 'City of Things' project, part of the Technology Strategy Board's Internet of Things Convergence programme. Our project will be looking at the application of the Internet of Things to management of the urban built environment. Read More »

Introduction to RDF

by Ric on 30 Jan 2012 in code, learning, linked-data, rdf

Linked Data is based around describing real world things using RDF. A lot of articles about Linked Data assume you already know what RDF is all about: if you are coming to it for the first time, this article explains the basics. Read More »

IMD Mapper: a new Linked Data and JavaScript app

by Bill on 26 Sep 2011 in dclg, deprivation, javascript, linked-data, open-data, projects, visualisation

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about an app that DCLG's Steve Peters built for visualising the Indices of Multiple Deprivation data. We've just released an app of our own: the IMD Mapper Read More »

Visualisations and Linked Open Data

by Bill on 12 Sep 2011 in dclg, deprivation, linked-data, open-data, visualisation

Last week Steve Peters announced his excellent visualisation app for the English Indices of Multiple Deprivation. It allows you to explore the deprivation rankings in various domains, highlighting the most and least deprived areas in the country. Read More »

Scottish Linked Data Hack Day Report

by Bill on 12 Jul 2011 in hackday, linked-data, open-data, scotland, scotland

We had another successful Scottish Linked Data hackday last week. Around a dozen keen linked data folks spent a day at Inspace, part of the Edinburgh University Informatics Forum, working away on a variety of linked data projects. Several more folks joined for the end of day presentations and discussion session. Read More »

Open Data Challenge prize for Manchester bus data

by Ric on 17 Jun 2011 in announcements, hackday, linked-data, manchester, open-data

We were really pleased to hear yesterday that we were the winners of the Talis Award for Linked Data, one of the prizes in the Open Data Challenge, a Europe-wide competition run by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Forum Academy. Read More »

SPARQL example: finding data for a postcode

by Bill on 17 Mar 2011 in code, learning, linked-data, rdf, sparql

In this tutorial, we're going to be building and running a query to find the names of all the schools in the London Borough of Brent, but we'll take it one step at a time. The concepts we introduce here should come in useful elsewhere as so much Linked Data is geographically based. Read More »

A skim-read introduction to linked data

by Bill on 14 Mar 2011 in learning, linked-data, rdf

I recently came across this very nice presentation by Yves Raimond and Michael Smethurst: A skim-read introduction to linked data. It's particularly worth reading for its great explanations of content negotiation and of the difference between information resources and non-information resources. Read More »

What is Linked Data?

by Ric on 10 Mar 2011 in data-modelling, learning, linked-data, rdf

I suspect many of our readers may already have a black belt in Linked Data, but for others it's all new, so I thought it was worth explaining what Linked Data means to me. The definitive description is Tim Berners-Lee's Design Issues document, but I'll try to illustrate what this means in practice. Read More »

New Linked Data Book

by Bill on 02 Mar 2011 in announcement, learning, linked-data, rdf

Tom Heath and Chris Bizer have just released a new book Linked Data: Evolving the Web into a Global Data Space. You can read it online at the preceding link or you can get it in paper form from Amazon or from the publisher. Read More »

Simple Linked Data and JavaScript Tutorial

by Ric on 28 Feb 2011 in announcement, learning, linked-data, rdf

A few months ago, I published a tutorial on DailyJS (a popular JavaScript blog), on how to consume Linked Data with JavaScript. This tutorial assumes no previous knowledge of Linked Data or RDF, so I thought this would make a good introductory post here. Read More »

PublishMyData Day 1

by Bill on 17 Nov 2010 in linked-data, publishmydata

PublishMyData, our Linked Data publishing platform, has been live for half a day now and nothing has broken yet, so we're calling Day 1 a success. Read More »

PublishMyData: Linked Data Publishing Platform

by Bill on 16 Nov 2010 in announcements, linked-data, publishmydata

This week we launched an early version of our new Linked Data publishing platform, PublishMyData. Read More »

Mydex Community Prototype

by Bill on 03 Nov 2010 in linked-data, mydex, open-data, projects

We're very pleased to be making a contribution to the Mydex Community Prototype that launched last week. Read More »

Linked Data File Format Registry

by Bill on 03 Nov 2010 in data-modelling, linked-data, opinion, projects

I'm currently doing some linked data consultancy for the Open Planets Foundation (OPF). I'm helping to investigate the options for using linked data for a registry of file format information, part of the toolbox needed for long-term preservation of digital material by 'memory institutions' like archives and libraries. Read More »

RDF Datasets and Named Graphs

by Bill on 24 Aug 2010 in data-modelling, linked-data, opinion, rdf

I think we need to establish a common practice to link RDF datasets and named graphs. I've been working recently on discovery of linked data: how people can find out easily what is available and how they can use it, either directly or by building it into new applications. Read More »

Linked Data in Edinburgh and Manchester

by Bill on 23 Jul 2010 in linked-data, opinion

I've been at a couple of great Web of Data events in the last ten days or so. On 13 July, I organised a Linked Data meetup in Edinburgh that I'm pleased to say went very well. Around 25 people showed up to hear interesting talks from Zach Beauvais of Talis and Paola di Maio of Strathclyde University. There was a good mix of people already experienced with linked data and others who wanted to learn more about it - many of them with specific potential applications in mind. Read More »

Public Sector Open Data: Big Problems Still to Solve

by Bill on 04 Jul 2010 in linked-data, open-data, opinion

We're in the very early days of the UK government's new approach to open data. While it seems to be going in the right direction and progress has in many respects been remarkably quick (eg the government's recent announcement on public sector transparency), clearly we still have a lot to learn and many problems to overcome. Read More »

Scottish Linked Data Interest Group

by Bill on 24 May 2010 in linked-data, opinion, scotland

At the recent Open Knowledge Scotland meeting, Paola di Maio suggested setting up a Scottish interest group on linked data. Jeff Pan and I agreed with her and we decided to give it a try. I've volunteered to organise the first meeting. We know that there's a lot of interesting work going on in Scotland in this field and we want to provide an informal forum for people in the area to get together and exchange ideas - and hopefully encourage others to get involved. Read More »

Got data, want Linked Data?

by Bill on 31 Mar 2010 in linked-data, projects, publishmydata

At Swirrl we're working on a new platform for publishing Linked Data. (It's called PublishMyData). It's still at an early stage and we'd like to test our ideas against the constraints and objectives of the people who we hope might make use of it. Read More »

Scottish Data Now

by Bill on 19 Mar 2010 in linked-data, opinion

Tim Berners-Lee recently gave a short talk to TED, reporting back on a year of great progress since his 2009 cry of 'Raw Data Now'. One of the big contributors to this has been the UK government via the initiative, which I'm sure all readers of this blog are well aware of. If you are from outside the UK (and for many Brits too), you might not be aware that the UK has a rather complicated system of government, where some responsibilities are handled centrally for the whole country and some are devolved to the Scottish government (and a different set of responsibilities to assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland). Anyway, it seems that is one of those initiatives that more or less stops at the Scottish border. This is mainly because most of the departments publishing their data have responsibility for England and Wales, with an equivalent but separate Scottish department in charge once you are north of Hadrian's Wall. Or something like that - it's complicated! Read More »

Use RDFa, get more traffic

by Bill on 11 Dec 2009 in linked-data

Martin Hepp’s work in creating, promoting and implementing the GoodRelations ontology for e-commerce reached another milestone this week, with the first concrete indications that including RDFa metadata in your page will improve its ranking on Google. Martin and others have been talking about the potential SEO benefits of RDFa for a while, but it looks like that is now being realised by BestBuy through their use of GoodRelations. Read More »

Delivering Linked Data quickly

by Bill on 25 Nov 2009 in linked-data

I've been involved in a couple of discussions in the last few days about speed of access to Linked Data and whether that will limit what can be done with it. This was kicked off by some questions on Twitter by Greg Boutin. Greg was particularly interested in queries on distributed data, particularly data that changes frequently so that caching it locally may be difficult. He's worried that this will be so slow that it is not practical. Read More »

Need for better linked data practices

by Bill on 19 Nov 2009 in linked-data, opinion

few weeks ago I asked on this blog 'What makes good linked data?'. A recent blog post by Mike Bergman and Frédérick Giasson really helps to get to the heart of this question. If you are interested in how to use linked data effectively you should definitely read Mike and Fred's article. To summarise briefly, they look at two specific high profile examples of linked data: the Rensellaer Polytechnic Tetherless World group's work on converting datasets to RDF, and the recent New York Times initiative to open up their topic pages as RDF. Read More »

What makes good linked data?

by Bill on 19 Oct 2009 in linked-data, opinion

Readers of this blog probably take it for granted that publishing more linked data is a Good Thing. Linked data should follow the established design principles, but that still leaves many ways to represent your data as RDF. Which is the 'best' way? How do we decide if our approach is good or bad? How do we improve? Read More »

Semantic web going mainstream?

by Bill on 02 Oct 2009 in linked-data, opinion

Yesterday Jim Hendler's post 'It's just a matter of semantics' post was published by the CNN Brainstorm Tech blog. As Hendler said on Twitter, it was edited in odd ways but not totally butchered Read More »

Publishing table-based data as RDFa

by Bill on 24 Aug 2009 in linked-data

Tables of data are a common feature of reports and blogs, so they represent an important use case for getting RDF online. The simplest and most commonly used approach is to assign a URI to each row in the table. That URI forms the subject of a set of triples, with the column name as predicate and the cell contents as the value. This works fine in some simple cases, but many tables are not so simple. Read More »

TimBL: How to put your data online

by Bill on 23 Jun 2009 in linked-data, opinion

Further to the news the other day that Berners-Lee is advising the UK government on how to get more of its data online, Sir Tim has now published a straightforward how-to guide: Putting Government Data online Read More »

More UK government data online?

by Bill on 17 Jun 2009 in linked-data, opinion

With the recently published Digital Britain report and now Gordon Brown appointing Sir TimBL as a special advisor, is the UK Government finally starting to see the interwebs as an opportunity for economic and social improvement, rather than just as something to control? Read More »