What is Linked Open Data? | Land Portal

What is Open Data?

Open Data (OD) is data that can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose (from the Open Definition).

The open movement seeks to work towards solutions of many of the world’s most pressing problems in a spirit of transparency, collaboration, re-use and free access. It encompasses open data, open government, open development, open science, open source, open hardware, open content, open access, and open science and much more. Participatory processes, sharing of knowledge and outputs and open source software are among its key tools. 



What is Linked Data?

A) Linked Data (LD) is one of the core concepts and pillars of the Semantic Web, also known as the Web of Data. The Semantic Web is all about making links between resources understandable not only to humans but also to machines, and Linked Data provides the best practices for making those links. Linked Data is a set of design principles for sharing machine-readable interlinked data on the Web.


B) The Web enables us to link related documents. Similarly it enables us to link related data. The term Linked Data (LD) refers to a set of best practices for publishing and connecting structured data on the Web. Key technologies that support Linked Data are URIs (a generic means to identify entities or concepts in the world), HTTP (a simple yet universal mechanism for retrieving resources, or descriptions of resources), and RDF (a generic graph-based data model with which to structure and link data that describes things in the world).


What is Linked Open Data?

Linked Open Data (LOD) is linked data that is open data. Tim Berners-Lee gives the clearest definition of linked open data in differentiation with linked data: "Linked Open Data is Linked Data which is released under an open license, which does not impede its reuse for free."


Advantages of Linked Open Data

Furthermore, linking open datasets enhances creativity and innovation as all developers, citizens and businesses can use all those datasets to put things into context and create knowledge and apps.

Also, some of the benefits of Linked Open Data are:

  • Efficient use of resources: Linked Open Data reduces redundancy by building upon and the work of others rather than replicating existing systems.
  • Increased information quality: Linked Open Data encourages the standardization of metadata and data formats, which makes data more reliable and credible.
  • Creates added value: By connecting directly to other data, Linked Open Data allows users to discover, use and reuse information in new and unintended ways.
  • Identification of gaps in information: Linked Open Data allows data errors to be highlighted and corrected.
  • Enhances transparency: Linked Open Data creates the means for citizens and advocacy groups to hold the private sector and governments to account.


The 5 stars of Linked Open Data

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web and Linked Data initiator, suggested a 5-star deployment scheme for Linked Open Data.

Make your stuff available on the web (whatever format) under an open license [OL]
★★ Make it available as structured data (e.g. excel instead of image scan of a table) [RE]
★★★ Non-proprietary format (e.g. csv instead of excel), i.e. open format [OF]
★★★★ Use URIs to identify things, so that people can point at your stuff [URI]
★★★★★ Link your data to other people’s data to provide context [LD]

Read more about the 5 stars of the Linked Open Data in 5stardata.info


Does all Linked Data need to be Linked Open Data?

A) In a word, no, and it will likely never be so. The label "Linked Open Data" is widely used, but often to refer to Linked Data in general, rather than to Linked Data that is explicitly published under an open license. Not all Linked Data will be open, and not all Open Data will be linked. Therefore care should be taken to use the appropriate term, depending on the licensing terms of the data in question.


B) Still, not all data is freely available and open for anyone to use and share. Open Data is data that can be freely used and distributed by anyone, subject only to, at most, the requirement to attribute and share-alike.

Open Data does not equal Linked Data. Open Data can be made available to everyone without links to other data. At the same time, data can be linked without being freely available for reuse and distribution.


How can Linked Open Data improve Land Governance?

How land is governed is a crucial factor to improving the livelihoods of the 1.2 billion people currently living in poverty.

The Land Portal uses Linked Open Data to combine data about land issues from diverse and credible sources around the world, enabling easy data exploration, manipulation and customization. By bringing land information together in one place, the Land Portal actively addresses gaps in information, while providing a range of ways for the information to be accessed, shared and reused, which contributes to better decision making on land governance.

Share this page