Linking You RDF Vocabulary

Chris Gutteridge at the University of Southampton has created an RDF Vocabularly based on the original Linking You data model.

Terms which link an organisation to common webpages, such as a contact page or “about” page.

A few changes have been made to terms to make them useful outside academia. It is generally expected that the targets will be HTML documents, but in some cases it may be other formats, such as a PDF prospectus.


This vocabulary is based on the Linking-You project performed by those clever chaps at Lincoln University. It has not been endorsed by them. The RDF version of the linking-you toolkit was created by Christopher Gutteridge.

A formal XML vocabularly was the first of the recommendations from our original Linking You project and we are very pleased to see the data model being reconsidered and developed in this way. We hope it makes a useful contribution to the new initiative, which Chris is helping to co-ordinate.

This is the second iteration of the Linking You data model. Can you think of ways to improve it? If so, leave a comment here. Thanks!

#lncneu meets #jiscLinkU

JISC recently announced a funding call for projects that wish to apply the Linking You Toolkit. The intention is that up to ten institutions are funded to build on and implement the Toolkit, with support from the original Linking You project at the University of Lincoln. As the support project, we too have to propose to JISC a plan of what we will do and how we will contribute to the programme of funded projects. I thought that other people writing bids for this call might be interested to know what they can expect from us, should they be funded.

Below is the relevant bit of our submission to JISC. What it means in practice is that we identify ways we can support you; that we respond to your feedback on the Toolkit itself, in effect developing it as a collaborative effort; that we extend our own research in this area to the benefit of the programme (and the sector); and that we build the necessary tools to allow you to implement an agreed data model that is common across all funded projects.


Phase Two of the Linking You project will build on our initial efforts to examine the use and role of identifiers on HEI’s websites. We will respond to recent peer-review of our project ‘toolkit’, expand our initial comparison of university websites and develop tools to help institutions undertake the recommendations we made. Furthermore, we will support other institutions that wish to undertake an assessment of their own use of identifiers and work with them to develop and implement the toolkit. The ultimate objective is to work with other HEIs in implementing an agreed data model for HEI websites that is easy to implement and widely used across the sector, adding value to university websites and improving access to information for website users.

Use Cases

The Linking You project produced a toolkit for HEI Web Managers to encourage them to re-consider their use of identifiers as well as offer an abstracted data model that could improve the SEO and user experience of their site, as well as working towards a basic, common data model for the UK HE sector. The web is now fundamental to the activity and idea the university. The Toolkit provides a standard way for users to think about their institutional URI structure, making it easier for people (and their browsers) to both remember HEI web addresses and locate where they are in the web site. It also helps prepare institutions for the world of linked data by proposing a clear and concise model for university website data, making smooth integration with other systems easier and faster. A good URI structure can be easily understood by both humans and machines.

Although URIs are increasingly being obfuscated by developments in browser design, they are also increasingly being integrated into browser search functionality such that the benefits of providing clear, plain language URIs has never been greater. As well as providing subtle benefits to website visitors (and your SEO), technical staff working in universities should benefit from a consistent approach to URIs so that it is significantly easier for them to manage the relationships between resources, as well as making it simpler to produce documentation which refers to URIs that make sense. Alongside this, universities will be able to implement an efficient method of redirecting users to their intended destination when a resource has moved.

By developing our Toolkit further in collaboration with a number of HEIs, and responding to their feedback, we expect to further refine and expand upon our initial project outputs and demonstrate the value of our approach to the sector by developing a critical mass of users.

Overall Aims and Objectives

Institutions will benefit from thinking about a logical and human readable URI addressing system for online services. By working with the toolkit and the proposed extensions to our original work, they should experience:

  • Better IT systems integration.
  • Improved navigation of virtual spaces.
  • Appropriate conventions for differing technology platforms i.e. mobile/desktop devices.
  • Future proofing against non-sustainable URI management practices.
  • Ability to ‘design with data’
  • Improve discoverability of resources (and SEO)

Final Project Products

  • An improved toolkit including an agreed data model and complete comparison of HEI websites
  • Mapping tools for Web Masters to apply the toolkit model to their websites
  • A demonstrator aggregation application
  • A peer-reviewed journal paper on the use of identifiers in the HEI sector

Notes from today’s meeting

This is the last month of the funded project period and we’re aiming to have most of the deliverables completed by then. Alex and Nick will be working almost exclusively on Linking You for the month of May. Jerome (our other current JISC-funded project) is ahead of schedule and we can afford to focus on Linking You for the next three weeks.

The meeting revolved around a discussion of the data model that Alex and Nick have produced. On the whole, there was agreement among us about how it has been constructed. So far, it is a generic model, based on a comparison of five university websites, including Lincoln. The final model will be based on a comparison of 20 university websites.

A link to the model in progress will be sent to this discussion list in the next day or so.

There was often confusion about the distinction between logic and design. We are creating a logical model, based on the principles of ‘cool URIs’ (, upon which various website designs can be developed. Clearly, we need to be careful not to confuse design matters with the data modelling. The example of ‘alumni’ was discussed, noting that Lincoln has a separate website for Alumni ( but in the model, this would most likely come under ‘support_departments’. This is entirely compatible and the use of sub-domains and other website structures does not necessarily
impact on the design of the logical model.

We then discussed the merits of creating a vocabulary for HEI websites. Although our proposed model will attempt to be representative of 20 existing HEI websites, clearly one data model will never be adopted across the HE sector. However, a shared vocabulary of terms used across the various data models is something that the sector might work towards. Our model might therefore form the basis of a vocabulary that is developed in the future.

We agreed that for the average user looking for information about a university, the URI syntax is decreasing in significance due to the evolution of browser design and the integration of search in to the location bar ( However, the significance of URI syntax is increasing for institutions as the web moves to being designed with data (i.e. a ‘web of data’ and can introduce efficiencies  in repurposing information and become a data source for innovative services beyond the presentation of web pages. As such, for this project, we no longer intend to do user studies of year 12 students’ use of the web as we feel their browsing behaviour is irrelevant to the primary focus of this project, which is the modelling of university website data and the construction of URIs.

By the end of May, we will:

  1. Complete the data model based on a comparative analysis of 20 university websites. We will look at sites across the university groups
    (e.g. Russell, 1994 and Alliance)
  2. Produce a poster-sized infographic based on the model, along the lines of the Web Trend Map v4 ( It needs to be something that is meaningful to non-technical staff and students at the university and demonstrates the ‘spatiality’ of the data model.
  3. A paper which includes a dynamic comparison of the university websites, a discussion of the project, our methodology, conclusions from this exercise and recommendations for further work in the sector.
  4. Beyond the end of this month, we will continue discussing the model and infographic with staff and students at the university and report back via the blog accordingly, as well as participate in a conference which is due to be arranged later in the year.