Category Archives: Internet

http://dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/

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”.

20090624b

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

20090529a

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
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

"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.

20090323a

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

boards.ie tops BlueMetrix study of 38 Irish websites (via IIA and AMAS State of the Net)

From the latest IIA and AMAS State of the Net Issue 11:

Online Advertising

Online audience measurement in Ireland is dogged by a torrent of data. Some of it is irrelevant (such as hits on a website, which aren’t a true measure of online traffic) and little of it is directly comparable. This makes the job of media planners, the professionals who buy online advertising, a challenging one.

The arrival of a new mechanism to measure traffic on Irish websites is welcome, particularly as it offers a robust methodology and directly comparable data. The Internet Audience Measurement (IAM) is an initiative of Bluemetrix, the Irish company which measures online traffic in distant markets such as Japan and Scandinavia.

Its software was running on 38 Irish websites when the first tranche of data, on which our graph is based, was released in early November. Not all the big sites are signed up and some of those that are (such as Daft.ie and The Irish Times) did not have any stats available for the first monthly release.

But while, the top 10 table is limited in its scope, it enables like-for-like comparisons as the same measurement tool is used. This new measure will gain in importance over coming months, as more sites sign up and more data becomes available.


Source: Bluemetrix study of 38 Irish websites for October 2008 (www.irelandmetrix.ie)

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.

Golden Spider Award Winners 2008

  1. Best Financial Services Website – www.irishdeposits.ie
  2. Best Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Website – www.ireland-guide.com
  3. Best Digital Media Website – www.tv3.ie
  4. Best Sports and Leisure Website – www.imra.ie
  5. Best Community and Charity Website – www.heartsplay.ie
  6. Best Education, Research and Training Website – www.osi.ie
  7. Best E-Business Website (exclusive to web business) – www.litriocht.com
  8. Best Property Website (non portal) – www.chesterfieldblackrock.ie
  9. Best Mobile Content or Application – www.sentrywireless.com
  10. Best New Indigenous Website 2008 – www.movies.ie
  11. Best Use of Film, Digital Animation or Motion Graphics – www.thebellatwylye.com
  12. Best Blog – www.mulley.net
  13. Best E-Government Website – www.osi.ie
  14. Best Entertainment and Games-Related Website – www.redfm.ie
  15. Best FMCG Website (fast-moving consumer goods) – www.lucozadesport.ie
  16. Best Recruitment Website – www.prosperity.ie
  17. Best Interactive Marketing Campaign – www.mrtayto.ie
  18. Best Professional Services Website – www.rbk.ie
  19. Best Web Design and Development Agency – www.webfactory.ie
  20. Best Retail and Home Shopping Website – www.toyota.ie
  21. Best Social Networking and Community Website (people’s choice) www.boards.ie
  22. Young Designer of the Year – Naoise O Conchubhair
  23. Internet Hero – Aodhan Cullen
  24. Grand Prix – www.tv3.ie

Interview for Journalism.co.uk… Journalists get to know the Semantic Web!

I was interviewed last week by Colin Meek from Journalism.co.uk on the topic of “Web 3.0” and what it means for journalists… You can read the full article in two parts (1, 2). My original answers are part of an interview on their Insite blog. I also had the chance to talk about various DERI offerings in the Semantic Web area including SIOC, SWSE, Sindice, Semantic Radar, etc.


Colin also asked me about other readable data that is being crawled by Semantic Web search engines like Sindice, SWSE or Swoogle. These search engines can usually match keywords in any data that has been crawled or integrated into a semantic store, not just people. It could be from structured information about people, places, dates, library documents, blog items or topics, whatever. In fact, there is no limit to the types of things that can be indexed and searched – since RDF (an open data model that can be adapted to describe pretty much anything) is used as the data format. Anyone can reuse existing RDF vocabularies like SIOC to publish data, or they can publish data using their own custom vocabularies (e.g. to describe stamp collecting or Bollywood movie genres or whatever), or they can combine public and custom vocabularies (e.g. take FOAF and your own vocabulary about soccer to describe players and managers on a soccer team). Geotemporal information is particularly useful across a range of domains, and provides nice semantic linkages between things. For example, having geographic information and time information is useful for describing where people have been and when, for detailing historical events or TV shows, for timetabling and scheduling of events, etc., and for connecting all of these things together (“I’m travelling to Edinburgh next week: show me all the TV shows of relevance and any upcoming events I should be aware of according to my interests…”).

The keyword searches in the Sindice search engine allow you to find more information on where resources of interest are (searching for “john breslin” will point to all public pages that contain semantic information about yours truly). Sindice also has an API that can provide results in a resuable (semantic) format that can be leveraged by other applications. Alternately, SWSE (Semantic Web Search Engine) shows you semantic information about the object of interest (e.g. my phone number, my friends, etc.) which may be derived from multiple sources (this information on me comes from tens of sources consolidated together via unique identifiers for me or through what’s called “object consolidation”).

For me, this article highlighted the fact that the Semantic Web community needs to be very aware that one of the key features of the Social Web for journalists and for many others is the ability to find a lot of personal and sensitive information on people, and with the advent of “Web 3.0”, we need to realise that (“with great power comes great responsibility”) the availability of contextual and semantically-related information is going to become even more apparent, and people will talk about it in both positive and negative terms. Educating site owners about what semantic data they may be publishing (knowingly or unknowingly, even if it’s just RSS feeds) is needed, and developers should determine exactly what opt-in or opt-out mechanisms are required before implementing semantic solutions. Users also should be aware of the benefits and other potential uses of their semantic data.

I think now is the time to avert any scares, because in reality, the data that is on the Web or the Social Web can be used in new ways anyway, whether metadata is present or not (some facts can be derived). Google have recently implemented some discussion forum parsing algorithms to determine how many posts are on a thread, how many users posted on that thread and when the last post was made. You can see this in a search result I did for “irish pubs boards.ie” below. It’s not complete, and probably relies on identifying certain HTML structures for non-Google discussion sites, e.g. you can see two threads in the middle that don’t show details of the total posts or commenters. But it’s moving towards the SIOC vision of providing more metadata about discussions on the Web to help you in finding more relevant information – whether the site owners want to provide Semantic Web data or not!

Making data available semantically enables computers to help us do things we cannot easily do (or cannot do at all) right now, and this is what makes it so powerful. We also need to think more towards educating people about the benefits as well as how we can minimise any hazards. Is this a job for W3C SWEO? As my colleague James Cooley said: “I think scientists thought the benefits of GM food were so obvious that there was no case to make. Then you got Frankenstein Food and the game was up.”

For journalists interested in the Semantic Web, I’d recommend reading this paper entitled “SemWebbing the London Gazette” by Jeni Tennison and John Sheridan which describes how they have exposed information from their newspaper website using RDFa so that it becomes easy to re-use (slides here). You can also view some interesting slides by Colin Meek from a seminar he gave to journalists about the Social Web in Olso a few days ago. It’s in three parts (1, 2, 3). I’ve embedded the third part (on the Semantic Web) below…

Other posts referencing this article: