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Semantic's Role in Making Government Data Transparent

Mar 20, 2009, 05:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jennifer Zaino)

[ Thanks to Tom Dunlap for this link. ]

"And, when it comes to providing data in an open and standardized manner so that citizens and agencies can mine it, make comparisons, and perform analytics across government sectors, the semantic web needs XML and specifically XBRL for financial data, says Diane Mueller, vice chair, XBRL International Steering Committee and VP, XBRL Development, at JustSystems. XBRL provides the layer and the foundation that lets all parties map to a shared taxonomy standard, so that disparate sources of financial data can be mapped against each other without human intervention. ""The whole possibility of all the mash-ups you can do from all this data and create interesting new knowledge is pretty phenomenal, and applications we can’t even imagine yet will be created," Mueller says.

"But she has some ideas. Mueller, who along with JustSystems' Dave Raggett, is creating a W3C workshop to be held in June on the semantic web and XBRL, has been working on the XBRL financial data standard for ten years, and her interest in semantics and linguistics goes back to her university days. She imagines, as one example, how anyone using semantic tools that are already available today might have an interest in searching XBRL-tagged data converted to RDF for information in bailout baby AIG's SEC filings -- say, how much money it's allocated as bonuses -- and then mashing that up with other government data that might also leverage the XBRL standard in documents describing what funds have made available to the insurer."

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