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Some twenty Spanish research groups, employing over 150 researchers from 18 higher education institutions, have set up the Spanish Linked Data Thematic Network, with the aim of improving knowledge exchange and transfer between Spanish researchers working in Spain or abroad on related fields, as well as increasing the international visibility of Spanish research on linked data.

Thematic networks are partnerships of public or private research groups with related scientific or technological activities within a shared field of interest.

Linked Open Data (LOD) is a world data network that now contains over four-and-a-half million references organized as interrelated thematic bubbles on the Internet. This world data network is one of the pillars of the Semantic Web.

The Semantic Web relates data that are distributed over the Web through linked data that are referenced in the same way as links between Web pages.

New social trend

The huge growth of the Data Web (or Linked Data Web) over the last few months speaks for its significance. Other initiatives similar to the Spanish thematic network have been launched more or less formally in other European countries and also in the United States.

Examples of similar thematic networks are the communities working on initiatives launched by the United Kingdom and the United States Governments, foundations like the Open Knowledge Foundation, or popular initiatives, such as Italy's FAO-based community. The Spanish Government is working to improve citizen and enterprise access to Spanish State Administration public data, and several regional and local governments, like Euskadi (Basque Country), Asturias, Navarre, Catalonia, Saragossa and Gijón, have started to follow this trend and lauched open data initiatives.

Twenty research groups

The Spanish Linked Data Thematic Network is led by Oscar Corcho of the Ontological Engineering Group, based at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid's Facultad de Informática, and is partnered by: the Ontology Engineering Group (OEG), the Universidad del País Vasco's Database Interoperability Group, the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos's Intelligent Information Technologies and Applications Centre (CETINIA) , the Universidad de Deusto's Internet Unit, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid's Artificial Intelligence Group, the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia's aDeNu Research Group, the Universitat de Lleida's Human-Computer and Data Integration Research Group, the Universidad Europea de Madrid's Intelligent Systems Group, the Universidad San Pablo-CEU's Ontologies Group, the Universidad de Zaragoza's Advanced Information Systems Group, the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela's Intelligent Systems Group, the Universidad de Murcia's Knowledge Modelling, Processing and Management Group, the Universidad de Málaga's KHAOS Group, the Universidad Carlos III's Web Technologies Laboratory (WebTLab), the Universidad de Extremadura's OntoQuercus Group, the Universidad de Zaragoza's Distributed Information Systems Group (SID) , the Universidad de Sevilla's Distributed Group, the Fundación CTIC's Semantic Technologies Unit, and the Universidad de Oviedo's WESO - Semantic Web Group.

To achieve its goals, the Spanish Linked Data Thematic Network has scheduled a series of regular research and evangelization meetings (VoCamps, Linked Data meetups, and working breakfasts) with enterprises and public administrations. It also intends to set up training tracks and educational material (on-line tutorials, slides, etc.) and encourage researcher mobility within the country.

Available data sources

The Spanish Linked Data Thematic Network was set up with data sources supported by network members.
One of these sources is GeoLinked Data (.es)(http://geo.linkeddata.es), an open initiative launched by the Ontological Engineering Group based at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid's Facultad de Informática, aimed at enriching the Data Web with Spanish geospatial data. This initiative became operational with the publication of several sources of information from the National Geographical Institute on the Data Web.

The data sources now available on GeoLinkedData.es belong to the National Geographical Institute (IGN) and the National Statistics Institute (INE).

Another available source is SemanticXBRL, a dataset generated by the Universitat de Lleida's Human-Computer Interaction and Data Integration Group from XBRL-formatted financial reports submitted by numerous companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Sources in progress and external sources

Other data sources are under development by network members and will be made available to the Spanish Linked Data Thematic Network.

One of these data sources is being developed by the Universidad de Deusto. This higher education institution is to set up a Dublin Core data source containing all the publications by the MoreLab Research Group from 2010 and 2011 at least. A processor of links to publications saved as PDF files is to be built. The metadata necessary to generate Dublin Core instances will be retrieved from these publications.

Another data source is a SPARQL access point to the MoreLab Group website. The queryable RDF-formatted data will be modelled in compliance with the Dublin Core, Geo, DOAP and Bio vocabularies. An automatic personal web page generator for group personnel is also to be built, including sections like bios, publications or projects.

Additionally, Universitat de Lleida's Human-Computer Interaction and Data Integration Group is partnering the UN-FAO AGRIS project. This project aims to publish compiled literature references for publications related to food and agriculture as linked data.

Finally, the network website will list data sources and software generated by external Spanish Linked Data Thematic Network agents that will also be available to its researchers. Examples are an API for accessing BizkaiaBus public data, as well as an API for accessing traffic-related public data offered by the Basque Country Regional Government's Department of the Interior.

News source: bulletin board of Facultad de Informática of Universidada Politecnica.