Semantic Web and Linked Open Data

 

The aim is to transform the Web from a “network of documents” for “consumption” by people, to a Web of linked data, which are formally described, and can be processed automatically by software agents.

The Semantic Web may prove very useful in multiple contexts, from Research (such as in the field of Digital Humanitiesto Commerce and Industry, where data are managed by a plethora of legacy applications, which, in fact, create closed “silos” of not interoperable information where the risk of duplication and incompatibility is high. A growing number of companies uses semantic technologies to facilitate access to data through a high level logical view, which is independent of how the information in the underlying relational database is stored. They use automatic extraction techniques to identify concepts in texts, to facilitate the sorting and classification of documents, and to strengthen research capabilities.

The benefits of a semantic approach to data management has become evident in recent years as increasing numbers of public administrations and private companies have begun to “free” data, that is, to make data available to the public and free of charge. The Open Data movement aims to make raw data, both institutional and non institutional, publicly available and easily usable/reusable. This is a real revolution where data, and not applications, are at the core. It is an important step that opens up new interesting perspectives both in terms of transparency and the provision of innovative services for citizens and businesses.
We have extensive experience in this field, both in research and in commercial contracts. The research contracts include: SemLib, StoM and EuropeanaSounds, where we developed the Pundit web annotation tool (winner of the LODLAM challenge 2013 Montréal, Finalist at the Innovation Radar Prize 2016 in the category “ICT for Society”); Discovery and Agora, aimed at the creation of a federation of Semantic Open Access Digital Libraries in the Humanities; and the SenTaClaus project, in which the entity extraction DataTXT service, currently marketed by SpazioDati, was engineered.

Projects with semantic technologies have been created for the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, for the University of Eastern Piedmont, and Unicoop Tirreno.

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We were among the founders of the Linked Open Data Italy Association, one of the first Italian associations in the area of Open Data, which in 2010 openly published, with the highest level of interoperability (“Open Data 5-star”), information on the expenses of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. We then worked with SpazioDati, another IT company, in the creation of Open Data portals of the regional governments of Tuscany and the Autonomous Province of Trento.