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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 418. Updated Tuesday, 15 July 2014

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New guidelines for managing data

The first guidelines for publishing and connecting Australian Public Service data have been developed and released by the Australian Government Linked Data Working group (AGLDWG).

Chair of AGLDWG, Armin Haller said the Uniform Resource Identifiers Guidelines for publishing Linked Datasets on data.gov.au document provided a set of general guidelines aimed at helping Australian Government Agencies to define and manage published resources and datasets.

He said by publishing Linked Data on the Internet, the Internet becomes a platform where people and machines can easily interact with data that may originate from anywhere in the world.

"An important prerequisite for the publishing of Linked Data is the existence of an identification scheme for uniquely defining resources in a Linked Dataset," Dr Haller said.

Guidelines released for Agencies

"Linked Dataset", as referred to in the document is defined as a collection of data, each with supporting metadata, published and maintained under the data.gov.au domain, available as RDF, and accessible through HTTP Universal Resource Identifiers (URIs).
HTTP URIs, a component of the World Wide Web, provide a means of uniquely identifying a "Thing" (or "Resource") in this case a Linked Dataset.

According to the document, Linked Datasets provide the opportunity to share common meaning and common identifiers across the public sector, and to provide comprehensive and reliable identifiers for a collection of "Things" such as the hospitals, schools or roads in a region, climate data for a specific year.

In this way, URI form a global identification scheme used for Linked Data, similar to telephone numbers in a telephone network, and are a key technology to support Linked Data.

Dr Haller said these identifiers can then be used by anyone who may want to refer or make statements about a particular entity.

"However, guidelines are needed to form consistent URIs such that resources defined by the Australian Government receive only one unique, authoritative identifier," he said.

The working group has developed the report over the past two years.

Dr Haller said questions on any of the guidelines can be directed to the Australian Government Linked Data Working group via email at Agldwg-all@lists.csiro.au.

He invited people from organisations which were not yet participating in the working group, and who were interested in providing input to future iterations of this guideline document, to contact the group.

The guidelines can be accessed at this PS News link.

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