The OpenLink Data Explorer Extension

Table of Contents

What is the OpenLink Data Explorer Extension?

The OpenLink Data Explorer (ODE) is a browser extension (currently available for Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, and Internet Explorer with additional browser support to follow) that adds a new option to the realm of Web User Agent functionality, in the form of new menu options for viewing Data Sources associated with Web Pages.

Why is the OpenLink Data Explorer Extension Important?

ODE allows Web users to explore the raw data and entity relationships that underly the Web resources it processes. The extension enables users to switch between Hypertext and Hyperdata link traversal of Web data.

Product Architecture

ODE uses a modular architecture to orchestrate component activities according to the M-V-C pattern. Orchestrated components, referred to as "Cartridges," deliver functionality comprising data extraction and modelling (Model), data display and presentation (View), and actions based upon and/or guided by that data (Controller). Each component is independent of the others, and all are coupled with ODE via HTTP messaging.

OpenLink Data Explorer Architecture graphic

What is Linked Data?

The term "Linked Data," coined by Tim Berners-Lee, is the subject of a 2006 Design Issue note. There, he describes Linked Data as a principled approach to structured data representation, access, and integration for the World Wide Web, based on the use of HTTP URIs (Hyperlinks) to denote entities such that when these URIs are resolved (i.e., looked up, or "dereferenced"), they return RDF-model-based structured content (data) that describes the denoted entity.

Why is Linked Data Important?

Linked Data enables direct and easy integration of entity-relationship-model-based structured data into the Web, which enables users to construct powerful structured "data meshups" across the disparate data sources found on HTTP networks (e.g., the World Wide Web), without any programming. This forms a marked contrast to the unstructured "data mashups" commonly seen today, which typically require programming at several points in their production.

How Does Linked Data Work?

By incorporating HTTP into the resource naming schemes of Web accessible resources, so that the same linking mechanism used for retrieving a Web Page (and other information resources) also extends to the process of retrieving a structured description of a resource. This process is quite similar to accessing a SQL recordset via an ODBC or JDBC data source name (DSN). The fundamental differences between Linked Data and SQL CLI based data access are:

The illustration below highlights Linked Data's parallels with ODBC in relation to DSN based data access.

Linked Data and Open Database Connectivity are parallel technologies

What is the Linked Data Web?

An evolution of the Web that places you a click away from a structured description of any Web accessible resource. A more granular Web where interaction focus moves away from opaque compound documents to the entities they host.

What is the Linked Data Cloud?

As illustrated below, it's the moniker for the growing collection of Linked Data sources being injected into the Web by the Linking Open Data Community. As Kingsley Idehen stated in his blog post, "Semantic Web: Travails to Harmony Illustrated", harmonious intersections of instance data, data dictionaries (schemas, ontologies, rules etc.) provide a powerful substrate (smart data) for the development and deployment of "People" and/or "Machine" oriented solutions.

The clickable venn diagram below provides a simple exploration path that exposes the linkage that already exists, across the different Linked Data types, within the burgeoning Linked Data Web.

sponger cloud dbpedia lod cloud umbel lod constellation venn diagram

There are several paths to materialized Linked Data.

Why is the Linked Data Web Important?

By providing bridges between areas of interest and knowledge, the Linked Data Web can reveal relationships where information might otherwise be seen as unrelated. For instance, one might explore which industry and government leaders had previously been classmates or were somehow connected by family.

The OpenLink Data Explorer enables a user to browse from one "thing" to another just as easily as they would click from one page to another with standard hyperlinked document browsing, but with greater understanding and comprehension from the first click.

How can the OpenLink Data Explorer Extension help me exploit the Linked Data Web?

The best way to learn how this extension can help you is to install it, and follow along with the examples below. If you decide you can't benefit by exploiting the Linked Data Web in this way, you can un-install the extension without harm.


The OpenLink Data Explorer can be downloaded from one of the following locations

ODE Extension for Firefox

ODE Extension for Safari

ODE Extension for Chrome

ODE Extension for Opera

ODE Extension for Internet Explorer



The loading of the OpenLink Data Explorer tool differs slightly depending on which method was used to download it.

The OpenLink Data Explorer Firefox Add-ons installation dialog will then be presented.

Install the OpenLink Data Explorer

You will need to restart Firefox after it has finished installing.

Restart Firefox after installing the Add-On

Once it has finished restarting, you should see the extension in your add-ons list.


From the Amazon S3 Storage Site, the ODE extension will be downloaded, double click on the "Safari_ODE.safariextz" file to start the installer.

Download Safari Extension

Click the "install" button to commence the installation.

Install Safari Extension

Once complete check the extension tab of the Safari preferences to see the installed extension.

Preferences Safari Extension

Google Chrome

From the Amazon S3 Storage Site, the ODE extension will automatically be downloaded, click on the "continue" button to start the installer.

Download Chrome Extension

Click the "install" button to commence the installation.

Install Chrome Extension

Once complete check the "Extensions" menu item of the Windows menu to see the installed extension.

Preferences Chrome Extension


After downloading the ODE Extension from the Amazon S3 Storage Site, click on the "install" button to start the installer.

Install Opera Extension

The ODE "installation complete" dialog bubble will be displayed when done.

Install Opera Extension Complete

You can check the "Manage Extensions" menu item of the "Extensions" menu to confirm the extension has been installed.

Preferences Opera Extension

Internet Explorer

After downloading the Windows installer from the Amazon S3 Storage Site, double-click it to start the installation.

Install IE Extension

You can use the Internet Explorer "Tools" -> "Manage Add-ons" menu item to confirm the extension has been installed.

Preferences IE Extension


To reach the preferences panel for the OpenLink Data Explorer Extension:

There are two tabs for configuration:

The Viewers Tab

The default "Viewer" option has the benefit of being built into the Browser Extension, and therefore provides the smoothest browsing experience. It is possible to modify the RDF Browser (Viewer) and SPARQL Endpoint to use any available server which has the right capabilities. The image below shows the default configuration which uses the OpenLink Data Explorer viewer hosted on the OpenLink server.

The Default Viewer Tab

A list of supported viewers is displayed in the "Viewer" drop down list box as shown below:

Available Viewers

The RDF Data Access Tab

The RDF Data Access tab is used for specifying the location of the RDF sponger cartridges to used for sponging the RDF available data from the request URL, and by default uses the Virtuoso sponger cartridges hosted on the OpenLink server or this can be changed to use a Virtuoso instance of ones choice where the require sponger cartridges are loaded, as indicated in the diagram below:

RDF Data Access default tab

The "RDFizer Service" drop down list box contains the entries below of supported RDF services that can be used for sponging data:

RDF Data Access default tab

The Virtuoso default "SPARQL Endpoint" or a custom endpoint of the form "" can be chosen from the drop down list box as indicated below:

SPARQL Endpoints


The steps to use the OpenLink Data Explorer are simple.

  1. Open any web document.
  2. Send it through to the OpenLink Data Explorer:
    • Under the View Menu in Firefox only, click "Page Data Sources".
    • Right-Click (or Ctrl-Click on Mac) the page or a link, then click "View Data Sources".
    An OpenLink Data Explorer interface will load in a new tab and you will be able to seamlessly browse through the Linked Data Web.
  3. View a description of the available Linked data:
    • Under the View Menu in Firefox only, click "Page Description" link.
    • Right-Click (or Ctrl-Click on Mac) the page or a link, then click "View Page Description".
    A new tab will be opened with a page providing a description of the available Linked data, see. Alternatively, you can click one of the following bookmarklet links, which you can install by dragging to your browser's bookmarks toolbar: Note that these bookmarklets will load in the same tab.

The examples page walks through some of the options and functionalities of the OpenLink Data Explorer.

See Also

More information can be found at the following



Related OpenLink Technologies