Actions to make government datasets available in Linked Open Data

The principles of Linked Open Data (LOD) establish a new way of sharing datasets opened by the Internet, aiming to promote the wide distribution of structured data in languages, such as eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and in compliance with the recommendations of the Resource Description Framework (RDF).

In this scenario, government datasets play a prominent role: they represent 18.58% of the total number of existing LOD datasets and 41.54% of these government datasets have at least one relationship with ontologies or controlled vocabularies, according to the results of the mapping developed by Linking Open Data cloud diagram.

However,  there are still characteristics in the LOD dataset structures at the moment of data retrieval that is not considered ideal nor adopted good practices, such as the absence of metadata and licenses information. Actions to make public government data accessible are an integral part of discussions on trends in the modernization of public administration models, which seek to redistribute skills and resources among different intra-governmental and extra-governmental organizations, allowing greater institutional pluralism in public functions.

The strengthening of transparency actions can be expanded by building information sharing environments that, among other characteristics, provide an increase in information flows between public administration and society, thus ensuring greater visibility of the State activities. These environments become components of greater citizen participation, extending possibilities of participation beyond voting; and the State can improve the effectiveness and monitoring of the activities and results of its actions, in addition to complying with the obligation to publish government data.

Access to government datasets on the results of legislative votes is important in monitoring the activities of representatives, supporting the construction of analyzes, such as “[…] the identification of party clusters” and “[…] consistency of each of our representatives in the voting during their mandates” (SANT’ANA; RODRIGUES, 2013, page 58).

In 2015, Dr. Rodrigues and Dr. Sant’Ana published “A study on actions to make government datasets available in linked open data” as a chapter in a book titled “Knowledge Organization and Cultural Diversity” from Brazilian branch of International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO). The objective of that paper was to explore the actions needed to provide government datasets in Linked Open Data, starting from an application of a model of recommendations for data publication “Linked Data Best Practices in Different Topical Domains”, proposed by Schmachtenberg, Bizer And Paulheim, in databases available on legislative votes of the Brazilian Senate.

Access all content at ResearchGate or ISKO-Brasil web site.

Fernando de Assis Rodrigues, B.Sc., M.S., Ph.D., is a professor at Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Brazil.