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Linked Data Innovation – A Key To Foster Business Growth

November 7, 2016 5 mins. read Milena Yankova

Data is the new oil

‘Data is the new oil’, once said Neelie Kroes, former Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda. Thus, he aptly described how the growing amounts of data were changing business and life in general. The year was 2012.

By that time, many companies had already started drilling for the ‘new oil’. Some had not only found it but had been also refining it in order to create useful links to other domains and take advantage of Linked Data integration and innovation.

Why Linked Open Data?

As interlinked services and flexible data integration enhance customer experience, businesses have been increasingly using Linked Open Data (LOD) to boost efficiency and save resources. Share on XThe global drive to increase interconnectedness has led to the creation of many linked datasets. Some of them have even become an integral part of how various companies are doing their business today.

Here’s our take on several popular free, machine-readable, open and linked datasets and how companies have been benefiting from them.

Linked Open Data Sets

Linked General Knowledge


DBpedia is a crowd-sourced community effort to extract structured information from Wikipedia and make it available on the Web. The English version of the DBpedia knowledge base contains descriptions of 4.58 million things including people, places, creative works, organizations, species and diseases.

Today, DBpedia is one of the first sources of LOD that companies look at. For example, the BBC uses it for its Dynamic Semantic Publishing, mastering the art of integrating Linked Open Data to provide interlinked and highly relevant content.


The BBC is also using and contributing to the MusicBrainz dataset, which collects music metadata and makes it available to the public.

But it’s not only the BBC. A lot of large companies, as well as start-ups, benefit from it, too. Universal Music makes use of MusicBrainz metadata to enrich its own metadata. Google applies it in its Knowledge Graph. And it also feeds Amazon’s music offers as well as Spotify’s streaming service.


Wikidata is another free and very popular knowledge base. With 20 million+ data items, it serves as a central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects including Wikipedia, Wikivoyage and Wikisource.


Wikidata is another free and very popular knowledge base. With 20 million+ data items, it serves as a central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects including Wikipedia, Wikivoyage and Wikisource.

Culture Beat

Wikidata also collaborates in collecting and keeping track of cultural heritage objects by describing these materials with structured information. One of its partners is the Europeana project aimed at making Europe’s rich heritage easier for people to use for work, learning or just fun.

Across the Atlantic, the digital humanities heritage is supported by the Digital Public Library of America whose Metadata Application Profile is based on the Europeana Data Model. This is an area of humanities naturally prone to interlinking due to its global impact and interest. Thus, Linked Open Data only makes it easier to build more and more links following agreed-upon standards.

Also, the Digital Public Library of America is a partner in the Open EBooks initiative, part of the White House’s ConnectED Initiative.

But not only governments use and support the LOD movement. The global scientific, technical and medical publisher Springer is using it to enrich its own metadata and link it to other available data in the LOD cloud.

Why Linked OpenData

Geography Matters

The LOD cloud also features GeoNames, which contains 11 million place names available for download free of charge. GeoNames serves as a free resource to the world’s geography of media organizations such as the early adopter, the BBC, as well as The New York Times, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corp and the Guardian.

And as maps have a natural use of place names, Bing Maps, Multimap and OpenStreetMap are also using GeoNames, among other sources.

Healthcare & Life Sciences Links

Finally, in the pharmaceutical, healthcare and life sciences domain, we have the example of the US National Library of Medicine, which has published the Medical Subject Headings as Linked Data.

In the specific scientific field of healthcare and life sciences, a common understanding of the data is a must. One such collection is the SNOMED terminology resource, which is used by pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, to help integrate and link data from various sources and gain deeper insights.

As you can see, a variety of industries and cultural projects are leveraging the power of Linked Data in our increasingly interconnected world. Being freely available and machine-readable, Linked Open Data enriches organizations’ proprietary knowledge and helps them discover hidden connections.

By unleashing the power of Linked Open Data, these organizations will ultimately stay ahead of competitors, increasing customer engagement and loyalty, and raising their return on investments.


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A bright lady with a PhD in Computer Science, Milena's path started in the role of a developer, passed through project and quickly led her to product management. For her a constant source of miracles is how technology supports and alters our behaviour, engagement and social connections.

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