Datasets are Books, Not Houses

Brendan O'Brien
Jan 10, 2020 · 10 min read

The world of linked data is built on shaky foundations that prevent a true data commons from emerging. The problem isn’t with the data, but with the way data is linked. Specifically, the way links are addressed.

An address is a uniform, shorthand way of referring to things. Geographic addresses are an obvious example. 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is the address of the White House. 268 Elizabeth St. is the address of my childhood home. These houses are different in size and function, but they are both locations with addresses that adhere to a (relatively) consistent system. Addresses…