Linked Data: Perspectives for IT Professionals

Linked Data: Perspectives for IT Professionals

Ricardo Colomo-Palacios, José Luis Sánchez-Cervantes, Giner Alor-Hernández, Alejandro Rodríguez-González
DOI: 10.4018/jhcitp.2012070101
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The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. To make the Semantic Web or Web of Data a reality, it is necessary to have a large volume of data available in a standard, reachable, and manageable format. This collection of interrelated data on the Web can also be referred to as Linked Data. Linked Data is the large scale integration of, and reasoning on, data on the Web. Supporting the adoption of semantic Web technologies, there exist tools oriented to creation, publication, and management of data, and a big subset for Linked Data. However, an important weakness in this area is that it has not completely established a formal reference that integrates the necessary infrastructure in terms of components. This lack implies a slower technological adoption, covering both the public and private sectors. This paper explores the emergence of the Semantic Web and Linked Data, and their potential impact on IT industry. The main advantages of using Linked Data are discussed from an IT professional perspective where the capability of having standard technologies and techniques to access and manipulate the information is an important achievement in the application of Linked Data.
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1. Introduction

Today, the successful exploitation of Information Technology (IT) for corporations dependent upon the availability of IT professionals to design and integrate IT infrastructure and applications (Agarwal & Ferratt, 2002). As a result of this, IT workers represent a strategic resource for firms which have the ability to bestow competitive advantages (Bharadwaj, 2000; Wade & Hulland, 2004). Given that a company’s human resources can be a source of competitive advantage that is difficult for competitors to imitate (Kuean, Kaur, & Wong, 2010), IT professionals are in the eye of the hurricane of firms assets. In this context, IT practitioners are gaining importance in today’s changing and more and more competitive environment (López-Fernández, Martín-Alcázar, & Romero-Fernández, 2010).

Beard, Schwieger, and Surendran (2010) indicated that the skills and knowledge of IT professionals should prove invaluable in seeking and implementing innovations. Given that according to Sullivan and Dooley (2010), organizations must improve their competitive advantage and respond faster to changing markets by increasing productivity (O’Sullivan & Dooley, 2010), organizations must face a iterative process of revision and development of IT workers’ competences. That is the rationale behind Casado-Lumbreras et al. (2009) words: IT workers professional practice must be continually revised and improved in order to adapt workers’ competencies to technical innovations.

However, the turbulent nature of the IT industry may complicate long-term IT skill forecasting (Schwarzkopf et al., 2004). In this sense, according to Joseph et al. (2007), IT professionals experience lower job satisfaction, possibly because of having to cope with the changing IT skills set required by the profession. Moreover, changing technology has been pointed out as one of the main stressors for IT professionals (Love et al., 2007).

In any case, advances in technology and developments in the business environment have driven changes in desired skill sets of IT professionals (Goles, Hawk, & Kaiser, 2008). As a consequence of this, skill development programs for IT roles are well established in the industry.

One of the main trends in the IT scenario in the last years is Linked Data. In summary, Linked Data is simply about using the Web to create typed links between data from different sources (Bizer, Heath, & Berners-Lee, 2009). Unlike Web 2.0 mashups that work against a fixed set of data sources, Linked Data applications can discover new data sources at runtime by following data-level links, and can thus deliver more complete answers as new data sources appear on the Web (Bizer, 2009). In this scenario, Linked Data, based on Semantic Technologies seem to be a new deal for IT professionals. The aim of this paper is to explore the implications of this set of technologies for IT practitioners.

This paper is structured as follows. Section 2 outlines semantic technologies. Section 3 describes Linked Data concepts. Section 4 proposes the main implications of Linked Data technologies for IT professionals. Finally, Section 5 offers several conclusions and provides future lines of research.

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