My Data, Your Data, Our Data –

In the age of Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia, it is hard to believe there is still one group that prefers to be more circumspect about sharing: scientists.

Scientists worry that if they share data before publishing their findings, someone else might claim credit for a discovery they made. And even after they mine information for themselves, they frequently cling to the notion that more may be discovered, and so continue to hoard the data.

“Data is what scientists use to establish their reputation,” says Thomas A. Finholt, a research professor and associate dean for research and innovation at University of Michigan. “There is no incentive for opening up access.”

Now an ambitious project has been launched to try to change this traditional approach. Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit with offices at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, is driving an effort to build an open-source collaborative effort it calls Sage Commons, a place where data and disease models can be shared in the hopes of deepening scientists’ understanding of disease biology. To succeed, its founders acknowledge, will require not just data, but a huge cultural shift.

via Sharing Databases for Disease Research –


7 Ways to Make Your API More Successful

This guest post comes from Daniel Jacobson, Director of Application Development for NPR. Daniel leads NPR’s content management solutions, is the creator of the NPR API and is a frequent contributor to the Inside blog.

The purpose of a content API is to make the content available to its audience in the most useful and efficient way possible. To be a useful API, it needs to help the developers make their jobs easier. This could mean a wide range of things, including making it easier to dig into the API, allowing for greater flexibility in the responses, improved performance and efficiency for both the API and its consumer. Below are seven development techniques all of which are part of the NPR API that can help content providers improve the usefulness and efficiency of their APIs on both sides of the track. These techniques played a critical role in the success of the API which now delivers over 700 million stories per month to its users more stats on the NPR API coming soon on our Inside blog.

via 7 Ways to Make Your API More Successful.

It’s All Semantics: Open Data, Linked Data & The Semantic Web

This has been on my mind for a while – connecting the dots between all three of these concepts. I’m working on a more detailed post. I am glad to see that Richard MacManus from RWW just posted an article (It’s All Semantics: Open Data, Linked Data & The Semantic Web) related to this and i think its very useful.

Open data:

data on the site is available to the public, but it doesn’t link to other data sources on the Web. It could be data that has been uploaded in CSV forma

How is it different from Linked data:

Open Data is simply ‘data on the web,’ whereas Linked Data is a ‘web of data.’

So presumably Linked Data is data that links to other data.

Good. So how is linked data different from semantic data? Or are they they the same? From the RWW post – this is pretty good:

Campbell quotes from a number of other articles, in trying to come to a conclusion about how Linked Data and the Semantic Web relate. Perhaps the best definition she found was this one by Paul Walk:

  1. data can be open, while not being linked
  2. data can be linked, while not being open
  3. data which is both open and linked is increasingly viable
  4. the Semantic Web can only function with data which is both open and linked

So point #4 explains the main difference.  Bottom line data wants to be open and linked. When that happens it will enable the development of the Semantic Web.

Good stuff!