The Ethics of Sustaining Linked Data Infrastructure


The development of linked data vocabularies and infrastructure remains primarily project-based. While such experiments and short-term initiatives move the field forward, they often overlook the demands of ongoing maintenance and sustainability. Because linked data infrastructure and vocabularies are fundamentally interdependent, the deprecation or disappearance of one project cascades to damage other vocabularies and systems which had incorporated it into their design. Such losses undermine the development of a robust semantic web, particularly harming those who don’t have the expertise or infrastructure to adapt quickly. In this chapter, we review several key cases of loss and rescue and propose maintenance and sustainability as core ethical responsibilities in linked data development.

Ethics in Linked Data

With Dorothea Salo. This chapter appears in Ethics in Linked Data, eds. Alexandra Provo, Kathleen Burlingame, and B.M. Watson, Library Juice Press, 2023, 978-1-63400-133-5. Pages 23-39.

Ruth Kitchin Tillman
Sally W. Kalin Early Career Librarian for Technological Innovations

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