A Panorama of Public Pay: Salary Data Explorer Powered by Talis

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Talis has been working on a set of data supplied by the BBC to support an episode of the investigative news program Panorama. Using the Talis Platform, the BBC's developers created a salary data explorer--an application using Linked Data behind the scenes letting viewers explore the salaries of top-paid public-sector employees.

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Talis is a leading, UK-based Semantic Web company building software applications and the Talis Platform for hosting Linked Data and rapidly building semantic applications. We've been developing software for the UK information sector for 40 years, and also provide hosting, consulting and data-management services.

A couple weeks ago, the BBC asked us to load a set of data into the Talis Platform to support an upcoming episode of Panorama. The episode, airing tonight at 8:30pm BST, will cover public-sector pay. They're looking particularly into the topic of the highest-paid public sector jobs, especially the jobs of senior civil servants paid more than the UK Prime Minister.

The episode, which aired last night at 8:30pm, covered public-sector pay. It looked particularly into the topic of the highest-paid public sector jobs, especially the jobs of senior civil servants paid more than the UK Prime Minister.

So, we modelled the data the BBC supplied, converted it into Linked Data and loaded the lot into the Talis Platform. The BBC's is pulling data from the their Platform stores to power the Panorama exploration tool, which you can use here.

The exploration tool gives you an interactive view of where top public-sector salaries are going, sorting by sector and giving you a facetted picture. So, you can have a quick glance at the top 10 positions in Local Government, then filter down to find those of Wales, or even deeper and have a look at the district councils of, say, the Northwest of England.

The explorer is making use of the Linked Data API--the same thing that works with data.gov.uk--giving their developers the data formats such as JSON which are used in the application. giving their developers the data formats such as JSON which are used in the application. So, whenever you click your way through the explorer, you are pulling at the end of an interesting string of data-driven wheels and cogs; the end of which is all linked up and SPARQLy.

The BBC have taken Linked Data very seriously, and it's even something that's influenced the way they're thinking about information architecture more widely. They've built much of the framework behind projects like the Wildlife Finder and their World Cup site on Linked Data principles. For a peak at this world, a great place to start would be Silver Oliver's recent post about the Semantic Web. And for more about the way this story unfolds, watch last night's Panorama on BBC iPlayer if you're in the UK.

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Zach Beauvais
Talis
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