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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.

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:

Two new toys: Nabaztag and Chumby

As you may know, I’m a bit of a gadget freak. I haven’t gotten around to blogging about my Nokia 770 internet tablet (which I got cheap last year and happily use to check e-mail and listen to internet radio via radioten.com) or my little wifi-enabled Nikon S51c digital camera, but last week I acquired two new friends in my office, a Nabaztag and a Chumby.

The Nabaztag is a wifi enabled “rabbit”, that can read out text and RSS feeds, plays music, displays lights to represent different conditions (e.g. weather, new mail), and it has an RFID reader in its ears which can enable the detection of different objects (e.g. it could read an RFID-enabled book to you if you wave it by the ears of the rabbit). While some aren’t happy, I think it’s a cool device with many applications for those who may not want or need a video interface. My Nabaztag is called Babbitty.

The Chumby has been touted as an Internet alarm clock, but it’s much more than that. It has a touch screen which displays and allows you to interact with a set of multimedia widgets which can be grouped into channels. For example, my default channel shows my Flickr photos, tweets from my Twitter contacts, an NHK-style clock, and news from the BBC and the Onion. There’s even a talking Tim O’Reilly widget in there somewhere! I got it from international-orders.com, and named it after me (Cloud)!

You can see them both above. I haven’t gotten them to talk to each other yet, but many things are now possible…

Tales from the SIOC-o-sphere #7

20080403a.png It’s been three months since my last round-up of all things SIOC-ed, so here is entry number seven in the series:

Previous SIOC-o-sphere articles:

#6 http://sioc-project.org/node/310
#5 http://sioc-project.org/node/294
#4 http://sioc-project.org/node/272
#3 http://sioc-project.org/node/271
#2 http://sioc-project.org/node/138
#1 http://sioc-project.org/node/79

XTech 2008, May 6th-9th 2008, Dublin, Ireland

Call for Participation for XTech 2008

Proposals for presentations and tutorials are invited for XTech 2008, Europe’s premier web technologies conference. The deadline for submitting proposals is January 25th, 2008.

XTech 2008 will be held from May 6-9th 2008, in Dublin, Ireland.

XTech’s theme this year is “The Web on the Move”, focusing on the emerging portability of data, applications and identity on the internet. We will explore the benefits, issues, practicalities and fun of a web built on open standards, open source and commodity technology.

XTech presentations should inspire, educate and challenge. Your audience will be people like you, responsible for steering the technological direction of their organizations and the web as a whole.

Last year’s schedule can be viewed on the XTech 2007 web site.

Please direct any questions to the conference chair, Edd Dumbill.

View the calls for participation and submit a proposal

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Social platforms
    • Design patterns for social software
    • Social network interoperability
    • Internet application platforms (Facebook F8, OpenSocial, etc.)
  • Identity management
    • OpenID
    • Practical security
    • OAuth
  • Ajax
    • jQuery, YUI, other toolkits
    • Offline applications
    • Comet
    • Professional Javascript
    • Flex
  • The web of data
    • Collective intelligence
    • Semantic technologies
    • Search
    • Markup and meaning
    • Freebase, Twine, Google Base
    • The place of XML on the web
  • Data and databases
    • Client-side databases
    • REST-oriented databases (e.g. CouchDB)
    • XML and RDF
    • Messaging architectures
    • XQuery
  • Operations and programming
    • Web application frameworks
    • Virtualization and appliances
    • Application scaling
    • Multicore and concurrency oriented programming
  • Mobile devices
    • Commodity mobiles
    • Android, iPhone
    • Hardware hacking and personal prototyping
    • Geolocation
    • Getting the mobile mindset

(Note: DERI will be a co-host of this event.)

Zimbie – notify and get notified about content via IM

I was talking this morning to Sean from Zimbie, a spinoff from WIT’s TSSG group, about their Zimbie applications and services. Although it took me a while to get my head around it, and it is still in early stages, Zimbie is a nice idea whereby you can send notifications via IM to anyone who is interested in your blog or other online content (at the moment, it mainly works through RSS updates but I am told it will be extended to include other update methods). Think Twitter or Jaiku via IM, except for any content (not just microblog entries).

So how does it work?

Client. Basically, there is a Zimbie client and a Zimbie bot. I am not sure if the client application is needed for those who don’t want to run Zimbie bots, but it acts like a normal Jabber IM client. It uses Jabber, so is compatible with Google Talk, but has yet to be extended to other IM protocols.

Bot. The Zimbie client is required if you want to set up Zimbie bots (“Zimbots”). The idea is that you create a bot that will notify anyone who adds the bot to their IM contact list about any updates to your site (or set of sites). So, in the screenshot below, I set up a Zimbie bot for barcampgalway at gmail dot com. Then, I configured the bot with details of my RSS feed (in this case, for the BarCamp Galway blog). Anyone who adds barcamp at gmail dot com to their contacts lists in their Jabber-compatible IM client will be notified when the BarCamp Galway blog is updated. Voila!

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My impressions…

The Zimbie client is easy to install and use. The Zimbie bot, less so. It works just fine, and the Zimbie bot demo video does a good job of explaining how to set up a bot, but I think that this may be a bit complicated for most, and editing XML is okay for someone like me, but may not be to all tastes. I also assume you must either leave your Zimbot running or else people will only be notified of updates when you start your computer / Zimbie application running again, but that’s not a big issue and will suit most.

But it is still an early release, and it’s really nice to see applications and ideas like this coming out of research institutes. Well done, and I wish all at Zimbie success with it. You can keep up to date with developments at the Zimbie blog.