The debates of the European Parliament as Linked Open Data

Tracking #: 1300-2512

Astrid van Aggelen
Laura Hollink
Max Kemman
Martijn Kleppe
Henri Beunders

Responsible editor: 
Natasha Noy

Submission type: 
Dataset Description
The European Parliament represents the citizens of the member states of the European Union (EU). The accounts of its meetings and related documents are open data, promoting transparency and accountability, and are used as source data by researchers. However, the official portal of these documents provides limited search facilities. This paper presents LinkedEP, a Linked Open Data translation of the verbatim reports of the plenary meetings of the European Parliament. These data are integrated with a database of political affiliations of the Members of Parliament, and enriched with detected topics from the EU’s topic hierarchy and links to three other Linked Open Datasets. The results of this work are available through a SPARQL endpoint as well as a user interface with extensive browse and search facilities. It is now possible to combine in one query the time and topic of the debate, the spoken words - in any available translation - and information about the speaker uttering these, such as affiliations to countries, parties and committees. This paper discusses the design and creation of the vocabulary, data and links, as well as known use of the data.
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
By Konrad Höffner submitted on 25/Jan/2016
Review Comment:

This review refers to revision #1300-2512 of the dataset description of "The debates of the European Parliament as Linked Open Data" following two earlier reviews.

The remaining two issues, the conversion process and the image quality, have been resolved, so that I suggest to accept the paper.

There are however seven cases (pages 1,1,3,3,5,5,10) of incorrect hyphenation, where a hyphen ("-" in latex) needs to be replaced with an n-dash ("--") or m-dash ("---"), however this can also be done by the editors according to their style guide.

Review #2
By Alvaro Graves submitted on 23/Feb/2016
Minor Revision
Review Comment:

The authors describe how they converted transcripts of the debates from the European Parliament into RDF. The authors provide details on different aspects of the conversion, such as URI creation, vocabularies used and how the data was published.

One thing that worries me is the small scientific contribution of this work; similar projects have been developed for years, even providing more robust and generalizable tools and frameworks, along with the data.

In terms of third party use, the authors show number of times the dataset has been queried, but that doesn't answer how this is used by interested parties (e.g., political science researchers) and why they find better to write their own SPARQL queries rather than use other tools for this data (such as R scripts and libraries).

In terms of data quality, the authors claim that "We have checked the data for each of the described metrics for consistency (where applicable)
and found no contradictions". However the lack of further discussion forces the reader to believe that claim in bona fide.