APOD Linked Data

This is a very esoteric post about Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) and data formats so if neither of those interest you feel free to look at a pretty picture of a nebula instead.

Since 2007 I've been running the @apod Twitter account. Since the US government shutdown of October 2013 I've been providing an APOD search engine too. As a result I have put some effort into parsing the content of every APOD since 1995 and have them in a big file split into fields such as date, title, author, description, URL and astronomical objects (coordinates/type). I realised that this big file of data could be useful to other people so was trying to think of a good way to share it.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across JSON-LD which stores text in Javascript object notation but with a few twiddles to describe what the data actually are and help link data from different sources. I'm familiar with JSON and the approach of the JSON-LD folks seemed easier to grasp and work with than the alternatives from the RDF/SPARQL/Linked Data world.

After a bit of playing I had converted my file into a first attempt at JSON-LD. I uploaded it to GitHub and mentioned I'd done so on Twitter. A little while later I was pleasantly surprised to have a tweet (out-of-the-blue) from Markus Lanthaler - one of the authors of JSON-LD - suggesting some improvements to what I'd done. He sent me a pull request and I updated things accordingly. It was brilliant to receive helpful input like that. Huge thanks to Markus for being so proactive and helpful.

If you play with the APOD JSON-LD file let me know what you think or if you have suggestions for improvements.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 14th Feb 2014 (17:04 GMT) | Permalink
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