UK & EU Linked Data Consultant Network?

As I explained in that announcement that I’m leaving Talis, I’m going to be exploring freelance consulting opportunities.

While I’m not limiting that to Linked Data work, its an area in which I have a lot invested and which there is still lots of activity. Perhaps not enough to support Talis Systems, but there certainly seems to be a number of opportunities that could support freelancers and small consulting businesses.

Talis was always keen to help develop the market and had quite open relationships with others in the industry. Everyone benefits if the pie gets bigger and in an early stage market is makes sense to share opportunities and collaborate where possible.

I’d like to continue that if possible. Even in the last few days I’ve had questions about whether Talis’ decision might mark the beginning of some wider move away from the technology. That’s certainly not how I see it. Even Talis is not moving away from the technology, its just focusing on a specific sector. I’ve already learnt of other companies that are starting to embrace Linked Data within the enterprise.

I think it would be a good thing if those of us working in this area in the UK & EU organise ourselves a little more; to make the most of the available opportunities and to continue to grow the market. There are various interest groups (like Lotico) but those are more community rather than business focused.

A network could take a number of forms. It may be simply be a LinkedIn network. Or a (closed?) mailing list to share opportunities and experience. But it would be nice to find a way to share successes and case studies where they exist. Sites like often promote projects, but I wonder whether something more focused might be useful.

These are just some early stage thoughts. What I’d most like to do is find out:

  • whether others think this is a good idea — would it be useful?
  • what forms people would prefer to see it take — what would be useful for you?
  • who is active, as a freelancer or SME, in this area — I have some contacts but I doubt its exhaustive

If you’ve got thoughts on those then please drop a comment on this post. Or drop me an email.

15 thoughts on “UK & EU Linked Data Consultant Network?

  1. Leigh, definitely a good idea, and something I’d like to join! I think that it’s important to strike the right balance, though – if it’s too open, it could become too unfocussed and too much like any other Linked Data group/mailing list (which are great, but of which there are several already), if it’s too closed it might backfire in the other direction.

  2. Hi Leigh

    Sounds like a good idea. I can see several useful things that such a network could do, and it would be important to have some agreement on what we were trying to achieve:

    – a kind of professional forum for sharing experience, lessons learned on applying linked data knowledge ‘in the wild’
    – an ‘advertising’ or directory site where potential customers can see a list of consultants, their specialities and experience and so have an idea who they could ask if they have a problem. Also seeing that there is a substantial list of such consultants grows confidence that they are choosing a well-supported technology
    – joint evangelising of the benefits of the linked data approach
    – a place to find collaborators/sub-contractors. Many of us work for small companies or as freelancers and no-one is an expert in everything. Whether it is to cover peaks in workload or to bring in specialist help, it’s useful to know who to ask.

    There are probably other useful potential outcomes too – any suggestions?



  3. I’ve often thought there’s something to be done in that area; looser than a company, but closer than an interest group. Some of us are outside the EU though!

  4. It might be a good idea. I am from Italy (meanwhile) and here there would be a lot to be done in the Linked+Open+Big data (if the current slowdown doesn’t put an end on any innovation). Anyway I would be glad to be in such a network.

  5. I’m interested. Please if it’s a social network thing, can it be open and/or standards-based?

    I’m already maxed out on some of the big privately-controlled sites (unless I pay more than they’re worth) and can’t get onto others (their poor accessibility or security). They usually don’t follow standards, so can’t be fixed or accessed externally. It’d be cool if the linked data consultant network produced some linked open data, wouldn’t it?

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