Category Archives: Education

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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BlogTalk 2009 (6th International Social Software Conference) – Call for Proposals – September 1st and 2nd – Jeju, Korea

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BlogTalk 2009
The 6th International Conf. on Social Software
September 1st and 2nd, 2009
Jeju Island, Korea

Overview

Following the international success of the last five BlogTalk events, the next BlogTalk – to be held in Jeju Island, Korea on September 1st and 2nd, 2009 – is continuing with its focus on social software, while remaining committed to the diverse cultures, practices and tools of our emerging networked society. The conference (which this year will be co-located with Lift Asia 09) is designed to maintain a sustainable dialog between developers, innovative academics and scholars who study social software and social media, practitioners and administrators in corporate and educational settings, and other general members of the social software and social media communities.

We invite you to submit a proposal for presentation at the BlogTalk 2009 conference. Possible areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Forms and consequences of emerging social software practices
  • Social software in enterprise and educational environments
  • The political impact of social software and social media
  • Applications, prototypes, concepts and standards

Participants and proposal categories

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, audiences will come from different fields of practice and will have different professional backgrounds. We strongly encourage proposals to bridge these cultural differences and to be understandable for all groups alike. Along those lines, we will offer three different submission categories:

  • Academic
  • Developer
  • Practitioner

For academics, BlogTalk is an ideal conference for presenting and exchanging research work from current and future social software projects at an international level. For developers, the conference is a great opportunity to fly ideas, visions and prototypes in front of a distinguished audience of peers, to discuss, to link-up and to learn (developers may choose to give a practical demonstration rather than a formal presentation if they so wish). For practitioners, this is a venue to discuss use cases for social software and social media, and to report on any results you may have with like-minded individuals.

Submitting your proposals

You must submit a one-page abstract of the work you intend to present for review purposes (not to exceed 600 words). Please upload your submission along with some personal information using the EasyChair conference area for BlogTalk 2009. You will receive a confirmation of the arrival of your submission immediately. The submission deadline is June 27th, 2009.

Following notification of acceptance, you will be invited to submit a short or long paper (four or eight pages respectively) for the conference proceedings. BlogTalk is a peer-reviewed conference.

Timeline and important dates

  • One-page abstract submission deadline: June 27th, 2009
  • Notification of acceptance or rejection: July 13th, 2009
  • Full paper submission deadline: August 27th, 2009

(Due to the tight schedule we expect that there will be no deadline extension. As with previous BlogTalk conferences, we will work hard to endow a fund for supporting travel costs. As soon as we review all of the papers we will be able to announce more details.)

Topics

Application Portability
Bookmarking
Business
Categorisation
Collaboration
Content Sharing
Data Acquisition
Data Mining
Data Portability
Digital Rights
Education
Enterprise
Ethnography
Folksonomies and Tagging
Human Computer Interaction
Identity
Microblogging
Mobile
Multimedia
Podcasting
Politics
Portals
Psychology
Recommender Systems
RSS and Syndication
Search
Semantic Web
Social Media
Social Networks
Social Software
Transparency and Openness
Trend Analysis
Trust and Reputation
Virtual Worlds
Web 2.0
Weblogs
Wikis
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New BE/MEngSc in Engineering Innovation – Electronic from NUI Galway

NUI Galway‘s College of Engineering & Informatics is now offering a new course titled “Engineering Innovation – Electronic“. This course will provide graduates with specialised multi-disciplinary skills to start their own business, centered on the development of innovative, niche, market-led, electronic products. The programme is composed of three multi-disciplinary strands, with the formation of an Electronic Engineer at its core. The three strands are:

  • Electronic Engineering
  • Business & Finance
  • Design & Innovation

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You can view our brand new brochure for GY412, and find out more about the course from the NUI Galway course page for GY412. The course is being run by the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering in collaboration with the Department of Industrial Engineering and the Cairnes School of Business & Economics.

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My new job in Electronic Engineering! Will still collaborate with DERI…

Next month, I will begin a tenured lectureship position at the Department of Electronic Engineering here in the College of Engineering and Informatics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. However, I will still do joint research with the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, continuing (amongst other things) to work with the Social Software Unit (on SIOC, SCOT, etc.) and with the TripPlanr project. In my new role, I will also be researching with the NCBES Bioelectronics Research Cluster in NUI Galway.

For those of you who have just come across me and my blog as a result of my work with DERI, you may not know that my background was in electronic engineering, having studied it at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and I also lectured for four years full time in the Department of Electronic Engineering before joining DERI in 2004. When I joined DERI initially, I imagined that I would be working on some intersection between electronic engineering and the Semantic Web. In fact, I fell into the world of the Semantic Web and social software, after an interesting discussion about semantic social networks with Stefan Decker, who was a senior researcher in the Institute at the time. I realised that my “hobby” interests in creating community websites could be combined with interesting research challenges around the Semantic Web, and although I (and then director Dieter Fensel) was unsure about how I would fare in a new research area, I’m glad to say that it worked out okay! Now I’m back to thinking about the convergence between electronics and semantics again, with some social software thrown in the mix (e.g. wearable communities).

Below is a collage of some memories from the past four-and-a-half years: including the FOAF Galway workshop, a Semantic Web cluster meeting, ESWC and a DERI offsite meeting, Wikimania, DERI Stanford, BlogTalk, meeting timbl, BarCamp, DERI drinks, the ITAG awards, and our Social Software summer / christmas parties.

I’ve really enjoyed working with all the smart and cool people in DERI, and I shall continue to do so, while strengthening ties between the Institute and NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics through my new job. (It’s my last day before holidays, so if you’re in Galway this evening, we’re going out for a few drinks in the Westwood Hotel after work at 5:30…)

Explaining science and engineering to future students and the public

I read two articles today that explained the need to better illustrate the interesting and exciting aspects of science and engineering subjects to the public (and to also attract future students).

The first is from Engineers Ireland where Dr. Jim Browne, president of the Irish professional body for engineers (and also president of NUI Galway), said: “We focus more on the downside of the Internet rather than appreciating the work of the software and telecommunications engineers whose creativity gave us the world wide web and which has such a positive impact on the lives of so many people. It is amazing to me that young children are so quick to adopt the new technologies and to grasp the opportunities they create and never seem to ask: where did this come from? How does it work?” You can read more here.

Secondly, there was an article in the Irish Times “American Business 2008” supplement today entitled “Science and technology need to foster interest and enthusiasm in schools”. It doesn’t seem to be on the new free irishtimes.com website, hence the scan below. Dr. Peter Hetherington of the American Chamber of Commerce said: “The perception at times is that you spend your life at a bench or an IT terminal, but if you look at the diversity of careers that are there, it’s quite phenomenal. People are following the so-called money at the moment, and going into careers like commerce or law, but all those services are essentially fed by science and engineering – because if they weren’t there, there would be no manufacturing, no new ideas, no companies.” Read more below.