Let’s assume you are the owner of a CSV file with some valuable data. You derive some revenue from it by selling it to consumers that do traditional data integration. They take your file and import it into their own data storage solution (for instance, a relational database) and deploy applications on top of this data store.
Traditional data integration
Data integration is not easy and you’ve been told that Linked Open Data facilitates it so you want to publish your data as 5-star Linked Data. The problem is that the first star speaks about “Open license” (follow this link for an extensive description of the 5-star scheme) and that sounds orthogonal to the idea of making money with selling the data
If you publish your CSV as-is, under an open license, you get 3-stars but don’t make money out of serving it. Trying to get 4 or 5 stars means more effort from you as a data publisher and will cost you some money, still without earning you back any…
Well, let’s look at this 4th star again. Going from 3 stars to 4 means publishing descriptions of the entities in the Web. All your data items get a Web page on their own with the structured data associated to them. For instance, if your dataset contains a list of cities with their associated population every of this city as its own URI with the population indicated in it. From that point, you get the 5th star by linking these pages to other pages published as Linked Open Data.
Roughly speaking, your CSV file is turned into a Web site and this is how you can make money out of it. Like for any website, visitors can look at individual pages and do whatever they want with them. They can not however dump the entire web site into their machine. Those interested in getting all the data can still buy it from you, either as a CSV or RDF dump.
Users of your data have the choice between two data usage process: use parts of the data through the Linked Open Data access or buy it all, and integrate it. They are free to choose the best solution for them depending on their needs and resources.
Using Linked Open Data
Some added side bonuses of going 5-star instead of sticking at 3:
- Because part of the data is open for free, you can expect to get more users screening it and reporting back errors;
- Other data publishers can easilly link their data set with yours by re-using the URIs of the data items. This increases the value of the data;
- In its RDF format, it is possible to add some links within the data set. Thereby doing part of the data integration work on the behalf of the data consumers – who will be grateful for it!
- Users can deploy a variety of RDF-enabled tools to consume your data in various ways;
Sounds good, doesn’t it? So, why not publishing all your 3-star data as 5-star right away? 😉