Category Archives: DERI

Tales From the SIOC-O-Sphere #10

siocapps_medium

SIOC is a Social Semantic Web project that originated at DERI, NUI Galway (funded by SFI) and which aims to interlink online communities with semantic technologies. You can read more about SIOC on the Wikipedia page for SIOC or in this paper. But in brief, SIOC provides a set of terms that describe the main concepts in social websites: posts, user accounts, thread structures, reply counts, blogs and microblogs, forums, etc. It can be used for interoperability between social websites, for augmenting search results, for data exchange, for enhanced feed readers, and more. It’s also one of the metadata formats used in the forthcoming Drupal 7 content management system, and has been deployed on hundreds of websites including Newsweek.com.

As part of our dissemination activities, I’ve tried to regularly summarise recent developments in the project so as to give an overview of what’s going on and also to help in connecting interested parties. It’s been much too long (over a year) since my last report, so this will be a long one! In reverse chronological order, here’s a list of recent applications and websites that are using SIOC:

  • SMOB Version 2. As you may have read on Y Combinator Hacker News yesterday, a re-architected and re-coded version of SMOB (Semantic Microblogging) has been created by Alex Passant. As with our original SMOB design, a user’s SMOB site stores and shares tweets and user information using SIOC and FOAF, but the new version also exposes data via RDFa and additional vocabularies (including the Online Presence Ontology, MOAT, Common Tag). The new SMOB suggests relevant URIs from DBpedia and Sindice when #hashtags are entered, and has moved from a client-server model to a set of distributed hubs. Contact @terraces.
  • on-the-wave. This script creates an enhanced browsing experience (that is SIOC-enabled) for the popular PTT bulletin board system. Contact kennyluck@csail.mit.edu.
  • Newsweek.com. American news magazine Newsweek are now publishing RDFa on their main site, including DC, CommonTag, FOAF and SIOC. Contact @markcatalano.
  • Linked Data from Picasa. OpenLink Software’s URI Burner can now provide Linked Data views of Google Picasa photo albums. See an example hereContact @kidehen.
  • Facebook Open Graph Protocol. Facebook recently announced its Open Graph Protocol (OGP), which allows any web page to become a rich object in their social graph. While OGP defines its own set of classes and properties, the RDF schema contains direct mappings to existing concepts in FOAF, DBpedia and BIBO, and indirect mappings to concepts in Geo, vCard, SIOC and GoodRelations. OpenLink also have a data dictionary meshup of some OGP and SIOC terms (ogp:Blog is mapped to sioct:Weblog). Contact @daveman692.
  • Linked Data from Slideshare. A service to produce Linked Data from the popular Slideshare presentation sharing service has been created, and is available here. Data is represented in SIOC and DC. Contact @pgroth.
  • Fanhubz. FanHubz supports community building and discovery around BBC content items such as TV shows and radio programmes. It reuses the sioct:MicroblogPost term and also has some interesting additional annotation terms for in-show tweets (e.g. twitterSubtitles). Contact @ldodds.
  • RDFa-enhanced FusionForge. An RDFa-enhanced version of FusionForge, a software project management and collaboration system, has been created that generates metadata about projects, users and groups using SIOC, DOAP and FOAF. You can look at the Forge ontology proposal, and also view a demo site. Contact @olberger.
  • Falconer. Falconer is a Semantic Web search engine application enhanced with SIOC. It allows newly-created Social Web content to be represented in SIOC, but it also allows this content to be annotated with any semantic statements available from Falcons, and all of this data can then be indexed by the search engine to form an ecosystem of semantic data. Contact wu@seu.edu.cn.
  • Django to RDF. A script is available here to turn Django data into SIOC RDF and JSON. View the full repository of related scripts on github. Contact @niklasl.
  • SIOC Actions Module. A new SIOC module has been created to describe actions, with potential applications ranging from modelling actions in a developer community to tracing interactions in large-scale wikis. There is a SIOC Actions translator site for converting Activity Streams, Wikipedia interactions and Subversion actions into RDF. Contact @pchampin.
  • SIOC Quotes Module. Another SIOC module has been developed for representing quotes in e-mail conversations and other social media content. You can view a presentation on this topic. Contact @terraces.
  • Siocwave. Siocwave is a desktop tool for viewing and exploring SIOC data, and is based on Python, RDFLib and wxWidgets. Contact vfaronov@gmail.com.
  • RDFa in Drupal 7. Following the Drupal RDF code sprint in DERI last year, RDFa support (FOAF, SIOC, SKOS, DC) in Drupal core was committed to version 7 in October, and work has been apace on refining this module. Drupal 7 is currently on its fifth alpha version, and a full release candidate is expected later this summer. Find out more about the RDFa in Drupal initiative at semantic-drupal.com. Contact @scorlosquet.
  • Omeka Linked Data Plugin (Forthcoming). A plugin to produce Linked Data from the Omeka web publishing platform is in progress that will generate data using SIOC, FOAF, DOAP and other formats. Contact @patrickgmj.
  • Boeing inSite. inSite is an internal social media platform for Boeing employees that provides SIOC and FOAF data services as part of its architecture. Contact @adamboyet.
  • Virtuoso Sponger. Virtuoso Sponger is a middleware component of Virtuoso that generates RDF Linked Data from a variety of data sources (working as an “RDFizer”). It supports SIOC as an input format, and also uses SIOC as its data space “glue” ontology (view the slides). Contact @kidehen.
  • SuRF. SuRF is a Python library for working with RDF data in an object-oriented way, with SIOC being one of the default namespaces. Contact basca@ifi.uzh.ch.
  • Triplify phpBB 3. A Triplify configuration file for phpBB 3 has been created that allows RDF data (including SIOC) to be generated from this popular bulletin board system. Various other Triplify configurations are also available. Contact auer@informatik.uni-leipzig.de.
  • SiocLog. SiocLog is an IRC logging application that provides discussion channels and chat user profiles as Linked Data, using SIOC and FOAF respectively. You can see a deployment and view our slides. Contact @tuukkah.
  • myExperiment Ontology. myExperiment is a collaborative environment where scientists can publish their workflows and experiment plans, share them with groups and find those of others. In their model, myExperiment reuses ontologies like DC, FOAF, SIOC, CC and OAI-ORE. Contact drn@ecs.soton.ac.uk.
  • aTag. The aTag generator produces snippets of HTML enriched with SIOC RDFa and DBpedia-linked tags about highlighted items of interest on any web page, but aiming at the biomedical domain. Contact @matthiassamwald.
  • ELGG SID Module. A Semantically-Interlinked Data (SID) module for the ELGG educational social network system has been described that allows UGC and tags from ELGG platforms to become part of the Linked Data cloud. Contact @selvers.
  • Liferay Linked Data Module. The Linked Data module for Liferay, an enterprise portal solution, supports mapping of data to the SIOC, MOAT and FOAF vocabularies. Contact @bryan_.
  • ourSpaces. ourSpaces is a VRE enabling online collaboration between researchers from various disciplines. It combines FOAF and SIOC with data provenance ontologies for sharing digital artefacts. Contact r.reid@abdn.ac.uk.
  • Good Relations and SIOC. This post describes nicely how the Good Relations vocabulary for e-commerce can be combined with SIOC, e.g. to link a gr:Offering (either being offered or sought by a gr:BusinessEntity) to a natural-language discussion about that thing in a sioc:Post. Contact sdmonroe@gmail.com.
  • Debian BTS to RDF. Discussions from the Debian bug-tracking system (BTS) can be converted to SIOC and RDF and browsed or visualised in interesting ways, e.g. who replied to whom. Contact quang_vu.dang@it-sudparis.eu.
  • RDFex. For those wishing to reuse parts of popular vocabularies in their own Semantic Web vocabularies, RDFex is a mechanism for importing snippets from other namespaces without having to copy and paste them. RDFex can be used as a proxy for various ontologies including DC, FOAF and SIOC. Contact holger@knublauch.com.
  • IRC Logger with RDFa and SIOC. A fork of Dave Beckett’s IRC Logger has been created to include support for RDFa and SIOC by Toby Inkster. Contact mail@tobyinkster.co.uk.
  • mbox2rdf. A mbox2rdf script has been created that converts a mailing list in an mbox file to RDF (RSS, SIOC and DC). Contact mail@tobyinkster.co.uk.
  • Chisimba SIOC Export Module. A SIOC Export module for the Chisimba CMS/LMS platform has been created, which allows various Chisimba modules (CMS, forum, blog, Jabberblog, Twitterizer) to export SIOC data. Contact @paulscott56.
  • vBulletin SIOC Exporter. Omitted from the last report, the vBulletin SIOC plugin generates SIOC and FOAF data from vBulletin discussion forums. It includes a plugin that allows users to opt to export the SHA1 of their e-mail address (and other inverse functional properties) and their network of friends via vBulletin’s user control panel. Contact @johnbreslin.
  • Discuss SIOC on Google Wave. You can now chat about SIOC on our Google Wave.

Book launch for "The Social Semantic Web"

We had the official book launch of “The Social Semantic Web” last month in the President’s Drawing Room at NUI Galway. The book was officially launched by Dr. James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway. The book was authored by myself, Dr. Alexandre Passant and Prof. Stefan Decker from the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway (sponsored by SFI). Here is a short blurb:

Web 2.0, a platform where people are connecting through their shared objects of interest, is encountering boundaries in the areas of information integration, portability, search, and demanding tasks like querying. The Semantic Web is an ideal platform for interlinking and performing operations on the diverse data available from Web 2.0, and has produced a variety of approaches to overcome limitations with Web 2.0. In this book, Breslin et al. describe some of the applications of Semantic Web technologies to Web 2.0. The book is intended for professionals, researchers, graduates, practitioners and developers.

Some photographs from the launch event are below.

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Another successful defense by Uldis Bojars in November

Uldis Bojars submitted his PhD thesis entitled “The SIOC MEthodology for Lightweight Ontology Development” to the University in September 2009. We had a nice night out to celebrate in one of our favourite haunts, Oscars Bistro.

Jodi, John, Alex, Julie, Liga, Sheila and Smita
Jodi, John, Alex, Julie, Liga, Sheila and Smita

This was followed by a successful defense at the end of November 2009. The examiners were Chris Bizer and Stefan Decker. Uldis even wore a suit for the event, see below.

I will rule the world!
I will rule the world!

Uldis established a formal ontology design process called the SIOC MEthodology, based on an evolution of existing methodologies that have been streamlined, experience developing the SIOC ontology, and observations regarding the development of lightweight ontologies on the Web. Ontology promotion and dissemination is established as a core part of the ontology development process. To demonstrate the usage of the SIOC MEthodology, Uldis described the SIOC project case study which brings together the Social Web and the Semantic Web by providing semantic interoperability between social websites. This framework allows data to be exported, aggregated and consumed from social websites using the SIOC ontology (in the SIOC application food chain). Uldis’ research work has been published in 4 journal articles, 8 conference papers, 13 workshop papers, and 1 book chapter. The SIOC framework has also been adopted in 33 third-party applications. The Semantic Radar tool he initiated for Firefox has been downloaded 24,000 times. His scholarship was funded by Science Foundation Ireland under grant numbers SFI/02/CE1/I131 (Líon) and SFI/08/CE/I1380 (Líon 2).

We wish Uldis all the best in his future career, and hope he will continue to communicate and collaborate with researchers in DERI, NUI Galway in the future.

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Haklae Kim and his successful defense in September

This is a few months late but better late then never! We said goodbye to PhD researcher Haklae Kim in May of this year when he returned to Korea and took up a position with Samsung Electronics soon afterward. We had a nice going away lunch for Haklae with the rest of the team from the Social Software Unit (picture below).

Sheila, Uldis, John, Haklae, Julie, Alex and Smita
Sheila, Uldis, John, Haklae, Julie, Alex and Smita

Haklae returned to Galway in September to defend his PhD entitled “Leveraging a Semantic Framework for Augmenting Social Tagging Practices in Heterogeneous Content Sharing Platforms”. The examiners were Stefan Decker, Tom Gruber and Philippe Laublet. Haklae successfully defended his thesis during the viva, and he will be awarded his PhD in 2010. We got a nice photo of the examiners during the viva which was conducted via Cisco Telepresence, with Stefan (in Galway) “resting” his hand on Tom’s shoulder (in San Jose)!

Philippe Laublet, Haklae Kim, Tom Gruber, Stefan Decker and John Breslin
Philippe Laublet, Haklae Kim, Tom Gruber, Stefan Decker and John Breslin

Haklae created a formal model called SCOT (Social Semantic Cloud of Tags) that can semantically describe tagging activities. The SCOT ontology provides enhanced features for representing tagging and folksonomies. This model can be used for sharing and exchanging tagging data across different platforms. To demonstrate the usage of SCOT, Haklae developed the int.ere.st open tagging platform that combined techniques from both the Social Web and the Semantic Web. The SCOT model also provides benefits for constructing social networks. Haklae’s work allows the discovery of social relationships by analysing tagging practices in SCOT metadata. He performed these analyses using both Formal Concept Analysis and tag clustering algorithms. The SCOT model has also been adopted in six applications (OpenLink Virtuoso, SPARCool, RelaxSEO, RDFa on Rails, OpenRDF, SCAN), and the int.ere.st service has 1,200 registered members. Haklae’s research work was published in 2 journal articles, 15 conference papers, 3 workshop papers, and 2 book chapters. His scholarship was funded by Science Foundation Ireland under grant numbers SFI/02/CE1/I131 (Líon) and SFI/08/CE/I1380 (Líon 2).

We wish Haklae all the best in his future career, and hope he will continue to communicate and collaborate with researchers in DERI, NUI Galway in the future.

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Open government and Linked Data; now it's time to draft…

For the past few months, there have been a variety of calls for feedback and suggestions on how the US Government can move towards becoming more open and transparent, especially in terms of their dealings with citizens and also for disseminating information about their recent financial stimulus package.

As part of this, the National Dialogue forum was set up to solicit solutions for ways of monitoring the “expenditure and use of recovery funds”. Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal on how linked open data could provide semantically-rich, linkable and reusable data from Recovery.gov. I also blogged about this recently, detailing some ideas for how discussions by citizens on the various uses of expenditure (represented using SIOC and FOAF) could be linked together with financial grant information (in custom vocabularies).

More recently, the Open Government Initiative solicited ideas for a government that is “more transparent, participatory, and collaborative”, and the brainstorming and discussion phases have just ended. This process is now in its third phase, where the ideas proposed to solve various challenges are to be more formally drafted in a collaborative manner.

What is surprising about this is how few submissions and contributions have been put into this third and final phase (see graph below), especially considering that there is only one week for this to be completed. Some topics have zero submissions, e.g. “Data Transparency via Data.gov: Putting More Data Online”.

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This doesn’t mean that people aren’t still thinking about this. On Monday, Tim Berners-Lee published a personal draft document entitled “Putting Government Data Online“. But we need more contributions from the Linked Data community to the drafts during phase three of the Open Government Directive if we truly believe that this solution can make a difference.

For those who want to learn more about Linked Data, click on the image below to go to Tim Berners-Lee’s TED talk on Linked Data.

(I watched it again today, and added a little speech bubble to the image below to express my delight at seeing SIOC profiles on the Linked Open Data cloud slide.)

We also have a recently-established Linked Data Research Centre at DERI in NUI Galway.

20090624a

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"The Social Semantic Web": now available to pre-order from Springer and Amazon

Our forthcoming book entitled “The Social Semantic Web”, to be published by Springer in Autumn 2009, is now available to pre-order from both Springer and Amazon.

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An accompanying website for the book will be at socialsemanticweb.net.

Tales from the SIOC-o-sphere part #9

It’s been another exciting six months in terms of SIOC-related developments. Here’s a summary:

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Nice video shows how hidden structured data from the Drupal content management system can lead to semantic search

(Cross-posted at socialmedia.net.)

Via Drupal creator Dries Buytaert‘s post entitled RDFa and Drupal and St?phane Corlosquet‘s post about RDFa and Drupal examples and use cases, there is a really cool video that demonstrates how the structured data that is available in many Drupal deployments (but is difficult to leverage due to HTML representations) can be exposed and leveraged using RDFa semantic data. The video shows deep searches of Drupal data using Yahoo! SearchMonkey and also some visual navigations of this linked data. The possibilities are very exciting, as Dries says:

Google and Yahoo! are getting increasingly hungry for structured data. It is no surprise, because if they could built a global, vertical search engine that, say, searches all products online, or one that searches all job applications online, they could disintermediate many existing companies. […] Hundreds of thousands of Drupal sites contain vast amounts of structured data, covering an enormous range of topics [and these structures] can be associated with rich, semantic meta-data that Drupal could output in its XHTML as RDFa. For example, say we have an HTML textfield that captures a number, and that we assign it an RDF property of ‘price’. Semantic search engines then recognize it as a ‘price’ field. Add fields for ‘shipping cost’, ‘weight’, ‘color’ (and/or any number of others) and the possibilities become very exciting.

The video is below:

This effort has been growing over the past year, since it was championed by Rasmus Lerdorf (the creator of PHP) and proposed by Dries himself at DrupalCon 2008. Based on St?phane’s roadmap for RDFa in Drupal 7, the video shows some modules that have been developed for Drupal 6 to demonstrate the power of having embedded RDFa representations of Drupal structures. RDFa is currently being integrated into the core of Drupal 7.

There’s a nice line in the video about this embedded data:

It’s machine readable and now we have access to all of the machine-readable fields available to us before. Very quick, very simple, just what RDFa is supposed to be: human readable data [text], formatting data [HTML] and machine-readable data [RDFa] all in the same document, all inline, all describing the same thing.

(See also this great video and deck of slides about the “Practical Semantic Web and Why You Should Care” by Boris Mann from DrupalCon 2009.)

Prize winners visualise Irish online life in the boards.ie SIOC Data Competition

The winners of the SIOC (pronounced “shock”) data competition being run by DERI at the National University of Ireland, Galway have been announced. The competition ran from September to October 2008, and the brief was to produce an interesting creation based on a data set of discussion posts reflecting ten years of Irish online life from boards.ie, Ireland’s largest community website. The competition had about sixty registrants and there were eight final submissions of very high quality.


First prize

The top winning submission was entitled “SIOC.ME: A Real-Time Interactive Visualisation of boards.ie Semantic Data within a 3-D Space”. The entry illustrates how 3-D visualisations may be harnessed to not only provide an interactive means of presenting or browsing data but also to create useful data analysis tools, especially for manipulating the “semantic” (meaningful) data from online communities and social networking sites. The entry was submitted by Darren Geraghty, a user interface and interaction designer, and it was praised by the judges for the huge amount of effort that went into creating it. A video of the application may be viewed here and a demonstration of the tool can be seen at go.sioc.me.


Second prize

In second place was a visualisation application called “boardsview” by Stephen Dolan of Trinity College Dublin. This is an interactive, real-time animation where one can watch the historical content from many discussion forums changing in real or compressed time. In this application, you can zoom into a particular forum to see individual users posting messages or to see threads being created and destroyed.


Third prize

Third prize was awarded to the “Forum Activity Graph” by Drew Perttula from California. This entry was a visualisation showing the popularity of forums on boards.ie as represented by coloured rivers of information, which were then rendered and displayed using Google Maps.

Other final submissions included:

  • Forum Map Demonstration” by Tristan Webb and Ian Dickinson of HP Labs Bristol, a demonstration of self-organising maps applied to an information navigation problem in a big community site,
  • WebThere: Semantic APML Profiles” by Brian MacKay from Pennsylvania, a service for creating and maintaining profiles of user interests and attention preferences in social websites,
  • Find Something Interesting” by ITT Dublin’s Alexandra Roshchina and Aleksey Kharkov, an application to provide recommendations of the most interesting posts and threads based on interest-matching and graph-mining techniques,
  • ChartBoards” by Martin Harrigan of TCD, a tool for examining community trends via term frequencies, and,
  • Visualising the boards.ie Community Culture with Charts” by Eoin McLoughlin of TCD, where various graph types were used to simplify the huge amount of available community data to something that could allow someone to easily grasp its size and depth.

The competition was judged by an independent panel of three experts: Ian Davis, Chief Technology Officer with Talis; Harry Halpin, researcher at the University of Edinburgh and chair of the W3C GRDDL working group; and Peter Mika, researcher at Yahoo! Research Barcelona and author of the book “Social Networks and the Semantic Web”. The first prize is an Amazon voucher for $4000; second prize is a voucher for $2000; third prize is a voucher for $1000.

IET and CompSoc present a talk on the "Social Semantic Web" on 27th November

The Social Semantic Web

Speaker: Dr. John Breslin, Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway
Date and Time: 27th November 2008, 18:15
Venue: DERI, IDA Business Park, Dangan, Galway – useamap.com/deri

Open to the public, no attendance fee

The Social Web – social networking services, blogs and wikis – has captured the attention of millions of users as well as billions of dollars in investment and acquisition. As more social websites form around the connections between people and their objects of interest, more intuitive methods are needed for representing and navigating the content in these sites. Also, to better enable user access to multiple sites, interoperability among social websites is required. This talk will describe the semantic technologies that can be used to interconnect both people and objects on the Social Web.

John Breslin, BE (Electronics), PhD, MIET – www.johnbreslin.org

John Breslin is a lecturer at the Department of Electronic Engineering in the College of Engineering and Informatics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is also an associate researcher and leader of the Social Software Unit at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway, the world’s largest Semantic Web research institute. He is the founder of the SIOC project, which aims to interlink online community sites using semantic technologies, and which has been deployed in over 50 applications including Yahoo! SearchMonkey. The Irish Internet Association presented him with Net Visionary awards in 2005 and 2006 for the Irish community website boards.ie, which he co-founded in 2000.

For further information contact: Mark on 087 1251858 / mneedham@theiet.org
or the Institution of Engineering and Technology Ireland Network.