Mike Bergman just published a really good blog post that describes Zitgist’s definition of Linked Data. Zitgist define Linked Data has:

Linked Data is a set of best practices for publishing and deploying instance and class data using the RDF data model, naming the data objects using uniform resource identifiers (URIs), and exposing the data for access via the HTTP protocol, while emphasizing data interconnections, interrelationships and context useful to both humans and machine agents.

Mike explains this definition in 15 steps. One thing he stressed, and that I want to emphasis too is: Linked Data != Linked Open Data. Linked Data is not necessarily “open” in the sense of Open Source software and the freeware movement. Linked Data is about what we defined above. Enterprises can privately exchange data with business partners and clients. Enterprises can even do linked data between divisions of the company. Linked Data can be open, but is not limited to. Linked Data can be freely published on the Web; but Linked Data can also be published over private networks for limited use.

6 thoughts on “Zitgist’s definition of Linked Data

  1. True, but given that the value of linked data is proportional to the number of links, openness would seem to be a necessary prerequisite to realizing the possibilities of the linked data vision.

  2. Hi Bruce,

    Sorry, but I don’t agree with you here ๐Ÿ™‚

    First, I doubt that the “value” of linked data is proportional to the number of links.

    We have to keep in mind that there is an essential characteristics in play here: Quality of links. Not all links are equal.

    Also, I doubt that openness means quality; particularly in the data realm.

    Also we have to consider that the best data sources are there are private: all big companies such as the BBC, Elsevier, Gouvernments around the World, Agencies such as the FBI and the CIA, and so on, and so on. I doubt any of these entities will ever completely make their databases openly available for many reasons.

    However, can they benefit from Linked Data as we defined it? Certainly!

    So, does Linked Data needs openness to be valuable? Not for me.


    Take care,


  3. Of course, Elseviers data would be that much more useful if it was open. Linked Data doesn’t need to be open, but it definitely is limited in its use if it doesn’t live on the open web. With exceptions (e.g. intelligence), data by itself is only as useful as what people do with it. Data should be treated as a platform and not of something with innate value

  4. Hi,

    Well sure that the value of data is just about what people do with it. It is why it has a “quality” characteristic: quality data and quality linkage will add more value than poor data and poor linkage.

    Private data “live” with the open web; but it is limited to its owner. By this I mean that private data can be linked with public data and still remain private. This is one of the thing we are doing at Zitgist for example: we help companies to link internal data with public data to increase their internal value.

    Finally, it is sure that I do agree that everybody would benefit from total open data(all databases open to everybody). However, I doubt this is realistic and I doubt this will even happen of my living. However, incredible value can be created with Linked Data principles (data open or not).


    Take care,


  5. Data is a resource, and those who can tap into it properly reap huge rewards. For instance, the vital statistics on publicly traded companies can be found at site like:


    but yet people still be on floundering investments like Washington Mutual common shares. They are the first to get wiped out.

    If linking data means the use of open source software, mysql can provide the platform to combine one program with another.

  6. Hi!,

    The concept of linked data is to have a easy, quick and effective way to link data from these data sources; and then to leverage the resulting linkage for the benefit of all.

    Take care,


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