Category Archives: FOAF

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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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.

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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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"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.

"The distributed social web"

I read an interesting Gartner talk summary by Ross Dawson about the distributed social web, via another blog post by Chris Saad. Building blocks like OpenID, oAuth and microformats are mentioned in both posts, and I wanted to pipe up on behalf of the Semantic Web (if I may)…

A distributed social web is one of the ultimate goals of projects like FOAF and SIOC. Both FOAF and SIOC have recently been listed by Yahoo! SearchMonkey as recommended vocabularies (FOAF for personal profiles and social networks and SIOC for blogs, discussion forums and Q&A sites). Ross, if you like this topic, then you’ll probably love ideas like SMOB (Semantic Microblogging), where people can keep their microblog entries in their own space and then push them to as many Twitter-like aggregation services as they want. See my post on this here.

Also, here’s a slidedeck about SIOC for the uninitiated:

See also:

Upcoming events of interest…

  • For those in Ireland or abroad who are interested in the Semantic Web, the 2nd Vocabulary Camp (VoCamp Galway for short) will be held in Galway on the 25th and 26th of November in DERI. VoCamp is an informal (free) event where people can learn about or create lightweight vocabularies / ontologies for the “web of data”. Places are limited to 30, so you should sign up quickly if interested…
  • The next day (27th of November at 6 PM), I’ll be giving a talk for the IET and CompSoc on the Social Semantic Web in DERI. As I’m currently co-authoring a book on this topic, it’s a good time to discuss this area.
  • Finally, the W3C Workshop on the Future of Social Networking will be held on the 15th and 16th of January next in the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona. The deadline for submitting position papers is on the 20th of November, but position papers don’t have to be long or complex: a one-page description of your views on the current needs of the industry would be a very useful contribution to this workshop.