1st Workshop on Linked Data and Distributed Ledgers @ WWW

The first workshop on Linked Data and Distributed Ledgers which was recently held at the World Wide Web (WWW) conference in Perth, Australia attracted a lively audience who came to discuss the relationship two fields. Linked Data research has a long pedigree at WWW whereas Distributed Ledgers (which include blockchains the technological underpinning of crypto-currencies such as BitCoin) are very new.

The day was structured around two keynotes, three presentations based on refereed submissions and a Round Table discussion. After an opening from one of the workshop’s organisers, KMi’s Director John Domingue, Peter Evans-Greenwood first gave an overview of how Distributed Ledgers could initiate a golden era of community-driven collaboration over market driven enterprises.

The second Keynote came from Manu Sporny who outlined how Linked Data could contribute to Distributed Ledgers and vice versa. Two key messages emerged from his talk. Firstly, Distributed Ledgers can be used to digitally sign Linked Data graph fragments enabling authentication with respect to, for example, a Linked Data application or validation from an authority. Work needs to be carried out however, on how distributed identities, a core component of Distributed Ledgers, can be handled within the Linked Data technology stack.

In between the two keynotes a series of refereed presentations were given. Victoria Lemieux outlined how Distributed Ledgers could support Archival Bonds – the property linking an archival record to its surrounding context. For example, that a set of documents represent land ownership or birth records.

The presentation “Linked Data Indexing of Distributed Ledgers” outlined a joint paper from Allan Third and John Domingue of KMi on how meaningful and domain specific blockchain indexes could be built. This work uses the BLONDiE blockchain ontology which emerged from a collaboration between KMi and the Fraunhofer Institute.

The round table discussions were lively and it was agreed that the work would continue within the existing W3C Blockchain Community Group. The newly formed W3C Working Group on Verifiable Claims will also provide a forum to expose the work. The overlap between Linked Data and Distributed Ledgers is a very exciting area with a lot of potential. A second workshop will soon follow at the ESWC Conference in Portoroz, Slovena where again KMi will play a leading role. Watch this space!


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