Australian Government Linked Data Working Group: collaborating across agencies to work together on systems, vocabularies, ontologies and datasets.

Mrs Brigette Metzler1, Dr Belinda  Brown1, Mr Marco  Wallenius1, Mr Nicholas Car1, Dr Armin Haller1

1Australian Government Linked Data Working Group, Hobart, Australia



The Australian Government Linked Data Working Group (AGLDWG) is a community of Commonwealth Government experts and champions, with invited non-voting participation of individuals, corporations and other entities. The working group was established in 2012.
The Principles on Open Public Sector Information and Open Government National Action Plan are part of a whole of government change agenda – for increased access to information and data to lead to more responsive services and decision-making, and to value add information for the environment, society and economy by improving its discovery, access and re-use.
The Productivity Commission Data Availability and Use Inquiry Report (2017), also makes the case for bringing in new legislation for data sharing and re-use, and the need to link, merge and share data across government, and with the private sector.
In this context, there is an ever increasing need to find new ways of working together. The AGLDWG works to lay the foundations for transformation by establishing standards for guidance and technical mechanisms to implement Linked Data. We also work to raise awareness of linked data practices and technologies, and communicate the benefits of increasing interoperability.
Our work has four main foci: systems, vocabularies, ontologies and datasets


The key to Linked Data lies in the use of consistent digital curation standards and using Uniform Resource Identifiers to identify and name abstract ‘things’ (and where possible assigning a URI to that ‘thing’). This allows us to create interoperability between datasets, thereby creating an environment conducive to both new insights and increased collaboration.


Creating standardised vocabularies simultaneously provides the capacity to generate interoperability between datasets and discoverability of semantic data. Vocabularies, standardised in their structure and delivery according to Linked Data and Semantic Web principles, provide online, look-up-able definitions for things which can be used much more easily and powerfully than older vocabulary tools such as (paper) dictionaries, tables on web pages or XML code lists.


Many systems have the capacity to operate with Linked Data. Some are dedicated to Linked Data, such as RDF Triplestores and the Linked Data API, and others function to facilitate Linked Data such as general website content management and web serving.


A great number of foundational, or fundamental, ontologies have been produced to cater for concepts such as time (TIME ontology), simple authoring information (Dublin Core) and tracing changes to things over time (PROV-O, the provenance ontology). The AGLDWG has produced several ontologies, an example of which is one that defines properties for datasets within the catalogue.


The growth of public data provides for a future rich in opportunity. There will be growth in eResearch and Linked Data, including targeted projects to merge data for environmental, social and economic research.



Dr Belinda Brown, Parks Australia, Canberra ACT, Australia:
Belinda works across multidisciplinary areas for science, environment, and information management; drawing on over 15 years of experience in the research and public sectors.
Belinda has a PhD in earth systems sciences, and started her career as a research scientist working on a range of international co-operative projects into the early development of southern ocean seaways and palaeo-climate around Antarctica. This laid the foundations for work in the science-information-policy interface; including amongst other things, working with the National Biodiscovery Working Group, the COAG National Science Working Group for Climate Change Adaptation, COAG Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap Committee, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.
Belinda has an interest in enabling evidence based information for improved social, economic, and environmental outcomes; and works with colleagues to extend the value of public data, including the Linked Data and eResearch fields. Belinda is lead author and manager for the Knowledge Management Strategy for Parks Australia Environmental Information. Recent projects also include the Biomes of Australian Soil Environments (BASE) Project, a National Threatened Species Project, and a National Environmental Science Program Emerging Priorities project for the digital curation of long term monitoring datasets.

Mrs Brigette Metzler

Brigette Metzler is a senior quantitative user researcher with the Department of Human Services. She has previously worked in ontology and metadata management, including work on defining the links and the events that cause connections between the services the department delivers on behalf of the Australian government. Brigette is undertaking her PhD at the University of Queensland in Public Policy. Brigette is an active member of the Australian Government Language Data Management Working Group and is the co-chair of the Australian Government Linked Data Working Group.

Mr Nicholas Car:

Nicholas Car is the Data Architect at Geoscience Australia (GA). He coordinates data management within GA and works with GA’s partners to implement data sharing and use across institutional boundaries. His particular areas of interest are in data provenance and data semantics, both of which relate strongly to Linked Data and Semantic Web technologies. He has been an active participant in the Australian Government Linked Data Working Group for a number of years and chairs a number of other data and metadata groups in Australia and internationally, such as the Australian National Data Service-run Australian Vocabularies Special Interest Group and the Research Data Alliance’s Provenance Patterns Working Group.

Marco Wallenius
Marco Wallenius is a project officer in Commonwealth Information Management at the National Archives of Australia. Marco has been a member of the Australian Government Linked Data Working Group and is active in the data community.

Dr Armin Haller

Armin Haller is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University with a joint appointment in the Research School of Management and the Research School of Computer Science. Armin acts as the Manager of the Australian office of the W3C and he is Director of the MBA program. Prior, he has been a Research Scientist at Data61 of CSIRO, Australia.
Dr Haller received his PhD from the National University of Ireland, Galway under the supervision of Manfred Hauswirth and Stefan Decker while he was working in DERI. His PhD thesis work was centred around the application of ontologies to workflow models. Most of this research has been carried out in the SFI funded m3pe project and in the EU funded SUPER project. Earlier, he was also involved in the WSMO and WSMX working groups.
His general research interests are Linked Data, Ontology engineering and and the semantic Web in general. Currently he is chairing the Semantic Sensor Network Ontology working group of the W3C.


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