Linked Open Data Taxonomy Manager

The Linked Open Data Taxonomy Manager enables cities to create and manage taxonomies and thereby allows different city departments to share their (open) data as linked data.

The challenge 

In SCORE we want our city's applications, websites and other IT projects to optimally make use of the principles of open source, open data and reusability. The project wants to demonstrate why and how these are enablers of more efficient public service delivery. A taxonomy tool is an essential element in the open smart city toolbox.

Such a tool: 

  • allows cities to work on linguistic standardization and aligned definition of terms used in public service delivery.
  • facilitates the usage of common language and terminology across departments, across background processes and across applications. 

Aligned, standardized terminology has a positive effect on digital public service workflows, applications for citizens and (open) data. Well managed taxonomies are important to make all these efforts modular and flexible enough so they can be reused, in the same city and in other cities.

The solution

The Linked Open Data Taxonomy Manager enables cities to create and manage taxonomies, thus allowing different city departments to share their (open) data as linked data. Linked data is data that is not only linked for humans – through the links we click on the world wide web – but is also linked for interpretation by machines – through the use of specific standardized data protocols. Linked data encourages data exchange and reusability, both behind the scenes as in our applications and data accessible to the public. The tool aims to implement the use of common language (terminology) for city administration matters, facilitating collaboration among different departments when sharing (open) data. The data structuring efforts allow us to define trees of terms that are related on a city level. Standardization of our vocabulary in the taxonomy manager not only makes these terms reusable between departments, it also creates data format unity among stakeholders, improving collaboration efficiency.

The current status

The application is being developed and maintained on an internal proof-of-concept environment in Ghent. The application, its development progress and all learnings are demoed to all SCORE partners during each SCORE partner meeting, and to any city on request.

The Data & Information cell in Ghent collaborates with District09 Ghent to configure and develop the application. Open source publication allows us to provide it as a common resource for cities. 

As a next step we aim to link it to one or more operational data structures such as a form element on our city website. After having set up the application and its open source development environment, we are now progressing to the selection of a specific use case that demonstrates the purpose and potential of a linked data taxonomy. We will work on this use case by assigning the administrative workflow of inserting and maintaining the terminology used.


A good fit into the SCORE project

The application is directly related to reusability and open access, both core of the SCORE project. Standardizing processes, data structures and workflows enable automatization, collaboration, information exchange and data reuse between city departments. This improves efficiency and makes public service delivery smarter.

It is a good example of the kind of meta application that each city with open data ambitions will need to structure and align background data processes. As such it makes sense to co-develop the application, sharing the development cost, rather than the traditional approach where each city would build its own version.

Ambitions after SCORE 

The application is a potential meta application for many cities. Once a more consolidated view on the benefits of the tool is reached, its best practices on linked open data and a suitable use case formulated and demonstrated. The application aims to inspire other European cities. 

The ”know how” acquired by Ghent and contributing cities, by setting it up in our cities as a proof-of-concept, will facilitate implementation and anticipate replication in other cities. 

Join us

The application's source code is available for replication on Github, where its development can be followed closely and improvements can be suggested here

SCORE is a collaboration oriented, open source development project. You're most welcome to replicate this application in your city or co-develop it. If so don't hesitate to get in touch with us. 


Tim Van Achte:

Jef Willems