The Semantic Web and the ideas behind Linked Data were conceived by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, and are a group of technologies that extend current web standards allowing computers to find and link information in a meaningful way.

So why is this important to architects? New and emerging Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologies mean that architects and designers need increasing access to relevant information throughout the design and procurement process. The RIBA Technical Research Department, along with University of the Arts London, has secured funding from the Technology Strategy Board to investigate the application of the Semantic Web (‘the web done right’) and Linked Data principles in providing that access throughout the BIM lifecycle.  With the government’s chief construction advisor Paul Morrell indicating that BIM is to become a requirement of publicly procured buildings, the need to find and link relevant and related information within the BIM modelling process will become increasingly important.

Connecting data in this way has been gaining in momentum over the past few years, with the UK and US Governments releasing reusable, linked datasets showing everything from public spending to U.K air quality figures [1]. Large media organisations such as the BBC [2], New York Times [3] and the Guardian [4] are also embracing the initiative, as well as institutions such as the British Library [5], British Museum [6] and National Library of Congress [7]. They believe that providing their data in a linkable format means that it becomes more useful and easier to reuse.

The RIBA Technical Research Department recently attended the free Kasabi Culture Hackday in the Institute of Physics, just a few doors away from the RIBA headquarters in Portland Place. The aim of the day was to find out more about the Semantic Web and Linked Data, and the potential for these technologies to connect and share knowledge.

You can read some more about the hackday, and the Kasabi platform, on their website: http://blog.kasabi.com/2011/09/19/culture-hack-day

The hackday attendees get down to business

The hackday attendees get down to business

References

[1] http://data.gov.uk
[2] http://bbc.in/semwebcasestudy
[3] http://data.nytimes.com
[4] http://www.guardian.co.uk/open-platform
[5] http://www.bl.uk/bibliographic/datafree.html
[6] http://collection.britishmuseum.org
[7] http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future

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1 Comment
  1. Zach Beauvais

    October 13, 2011

    Cool, there’s a round-up of the hackday on the Kasabi blog too: blog.kasabi.com/2011/09/22/hacking-on-culture-data, with a bit more about what was put together.

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