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Linking data for better information management in SMEs - Marc 07, 2014

Linking data for better information management in SMEs - Marc 07, 2014

The amount of public sector information data available has snowballed in recent years and continues to grow. With all of this data at their finger tips, the information managers of SMEs are increasingly concerned with how to link and combine these datasets with other data. They need standards-based tools, yet many SMEs simply don't have the resources to produce them. Meanwhile, public organisations themselves often struggle to provide re-usable, machine-processable Linked Data that can be easily integrated by SMEs. The LINDA project ('Enabling Linked Data and Analytics for SMEs by renovating public sector information') aims to develop tools that will assist SMEs and data providers in renovating public sector information, and ease the process of analysing and interlinking it with enterprise data. 

Linked Data is essentially about using the Web to connect related data that wasn't previously linked, or using the Web to lower the barriers to linking data currently linked using other methods. Launched in December 2013 and set to run for two years, the LINDA project aims to develop two key tools that will encourage SMEs to adopt the Linked Data paradigm. The first is a cross-platform, extensible software framework that can be used to develop custom solutions for SMEs and public sector organisations or be integrated into existing open data applications, in order to support the automated conversion of data into Linked Data. The second is a repository which will allow SMEs to reference and use metadata shared by multiple SMEs and data providers across different data endpoints, thus allowing automatic interlinking of datasets. 

The LINDA project will build on the work of previous and ongoing EU-funded projects focused on Linked Data. LATC ('LOD Around-The-Clock'), which ran between 2010 and 2012, supported institutions and individuals in publishing and consuming quality Linked Data online. The ongoing LOD2 project is promoting Linked Data among developers to ultimately make it the model of choice for next-generation IT systems and applications. Although these efforts and other emerging tools offer considerable support for Linked Data in terms of storage, linkage and publishing, there are very limited options for renovating existing data into Linked Data. That is why the work of LINDA is so critical. 

A member of the LINDA team notes, 'The results of the LINDA project are foreseen to have a significant impact on the efficiency of the information management of enterprises, especially SMEs that in most cases cannot afford the development and maintenance of dedicated information analysis and management departments ... This will give them a strong competitive advantage in the market, and will in this way contribute to the competence of the European industry'. 

The outcomes of the LINDA project will be tested and validated through three pilot cases involving a network of business intelligence management consultants, an ICT company and a broadcaster. By using pilot cases, the LINDA team ensures that SMEs are involved in the development of the project from the beginning and also guarantees that their work is showcased to encourage a rapid 
take up of the LINDA toolset.

Marc 07, 2014