Linked Data at the University of Twente?

Of course the University of Twente should offer their data as Linked Open Data! It could be the first Dutch university to be a member of Linked Universities, although the data themselves are of course more important than being listed as a member of some website.

Data are all around the University, and some of them already published. The event calendar is available in iCalendar format, phone book is accessible through LDAP and a web form and bibliographic data about research publications are searchable via a webpage, and can be aggregated using OAI-PMH. The RKB Explorer offers harvested data from both the University repository and the repository of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science as Linked Data already, but those harvests are from 2009 and before.

Here’s a list of things that I think can be easily described using Linked Data:

  • buildings (including historical buildings, like Charlie)
  • rooms (lecture halls, offices, labs, dressing rooms, theatres, boiler rooms, etc.)
  • opening hours
  • squares, fields
  • streets
  • bus stops
  • parking spaces
  • points of interest (coffee machines, candy vending machines, fire extinguishers, etc.)
  • artworks (paintings, outside artworks)
  • people (staff, student body representatives, etc.)
  • study statistics (number of enrolled students, per programme, etc.)
  • organisational structures (faculties, research groups, research institutes, spin off companies, facilities)
  • associations (student union, cultural and sports clubs, alumni associations, etc.)
  • scientific publications
  • scientific data
  • library catalogue
  • archive catalogue
  • study programmes (courses, requirements)
  • contracts (EU funding, cleaning, catering, coffee and candy vending machines, etc.)
  • events (lectures, meetings, concerts, dissertations, performances)

The university and the university library tend to think of “scientific data linked to the publications that are based on the data” when they hear Linked Data, but if all these data are available as RDF (or at least in some open data format, e.g. CSV), they can allow many more useful applications to be developed. Think of programme checks (do you need more or other courses?), appointment schedulers that account for walking distances between rooms, or bus stop and room, and visualisations of parts of buildings that produce the most publications. Integration of the phone book entries of people with their publications is easy, and creating filters for the event calendar is just as easy: it’s a matter of adjusting a SPARQL query.

We’ll see what happens.

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