Category Archives: SIOC

Tales From the SIOC-O-Sphere #10

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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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Some of my (very) preliminary opinions on Google Wave

I was interviewed by Marie Boran from Silicon Republic recently for an interesting article she was writing entitled “Will Google Wave topple the e-mail status quo and change the way we work?“. I thought that maybe my longer answers may be of interest and am pasting them below.

Disclaimer: My knowledge of Google Wave is second hand through various videos and demonstrations I’ve seen… Also, my answers were written pretty quickly!

As someone who is both behind Ireland’s biggest online community boards.ie and a researcher at DERI on the Semantic Web, are you excited about Google Wave?

Technically, I think it’s an exciting development – commercially, it obviously provides potential for others (Google included) to set up a competing service to us (!), but I think what is good is the way it has been shown that Google Wave can integrate with existing platforms. For example, there’s a nice demo showing how Google Wave plus MediaWiki (the software that powers the Wikipedia) can be used to help editors who are simultaneously editing a wiki page. If it can be done for wikis, it could aid with lots of things relevant to online communities like boards.ie. For example, moderators could see what other moderators are online at the same time, communicate on issues such as troublesome users, posts with questionable content, and then avoid stepping on each other’s toes when dealing with issues.

Does it potential for collaborative research projects? Or is it heavyweight/serious enough?

I think it has some potential when combined with other tools that people are using already. There’s an example from SAP of Google Wave being integrated with a business process modelling application. People always seem to step back to e-mail for doing various research actions. While wikis and the like can be useful tools for quickly drafting research ideas, papers, projects, etc., there is that element of not knowing who is doing stuff at the same time as you. Just as people are using Gtalk to augment Gmail by being able to communicate in contacts in real-time when browsing e-mails, Google Wave could potentially be integrated with other platforms such as collaborative work environments, document sharing systems, etc. It may not be heavyweight enough on its own but at least it can augment what we already use.

Where does Google Wave sit in terms of the development of the Semantic Web?

I think it could be a huge source of data for the Semantic Web. What we find with various social and collaborative platforms is that people are voluntarily creating lots of useful related data about various objects (people, events, hobbies, organisations) and having a more real-time approach to creating content collaboratively will only make that source of data bigger and hopefully more interlinked. I’d hope that data from Google Wave can be made available using technologies such as SIOC from DERI, NUI Galway and the Online Presence Ontology (something we are also working on).

If we are to use Google Wave to pull in feeds from all over the Web will both RSS and widgets become sexy again?

I haven’t seen the example of Wave pulling in feeds, but in theory, what I could imagine is that real-time updating of information from various sources could allow that stream of current information to be updated, commented upon and forwarded to various other Waves in a very dynamic way. We’ve seen how Twitter has already provided some new life for RSS feeds in terms of services like Twitterfeed automatically pushing RSS updates to Twitter, and this results in some significant amounts of rebroadcasting of that content via retweets etc.

Certainly, one of the big things about Wave is its integration of various third-party widgets, and I think once it is fully launched we will see lots of cool applications building on the APIs that they provide. There’s been a few basic demonstrator gadgets shown already like polls, board games and event planning, but it’ll be the third-party ones that make good use of the real-time collaboration that will probably be the most interesting, as there’ll be many more people with ideas compared to some internal developers.

Is Wave the first serious example of a communications platform that will only be as good as the third-party developers that contribute to it?

Not really. I think that title applies to many of the communications platforms we use on the Web. Facebook was a busy service but really took off once the user-contributable applications layer was added. Drupal was obviously the work of a core group of people but again the third-party contributions outweigh those of the few that made it.

We already have e-mail and IM combined in Gmail and Google Docs covers the collaborative element so people might be thinking ‘what is so new, groundbreaking or beneficial about Wave?’ What’s your opinion on this?

Perhaps the real-time editing and updating process. Often times, it’s difficult to go back in a conversation and add to or fix something you’ve said earlier. But it’s not just a matter of rewriting the past – you can also go back and see what people said before they made an update (“rewind the Wave”).

Is Google heading towards unified communications with Wave, and is it possible that it will combine Gmail, Wave and Google Voice in the future?

I guess Wave could be one portion of a UC suite but I think the Wave idea doesn’t encompass all of the parts…

Do you think Google is looking to pull in conversations the way FriendFeed, Facebook and Twitter does? If so, will it succeed?

Yes, certainly Google have had interests in this area with their acquisition of Jaiku some time back (everyone assumed this would lead to a competitor to Twitter; most recently they made the Jaiku engine available as open source). I am not sure if Google intends to make available a single entry point to all public waves that would rival Twitter or Facebook status updates, but if so, it could be a very powerful competitor.

Is it possible that Wave will become as widely used and ubiquitous as Gmail?

It will take some critical mass to get it going, integrating it into Gmail could be a good first step.

And finally – is the game changing in your opinion?

Certainly, we’ve moved from frequently updated blogs (every few hours/days) to more frequently updated microblogs (every few minutes/seconds) to being able to not just update in real-time but go back and easily add to / update what’s been said any time in the past. People want the freshest content, and this is another step towards not just providing content that is fresh now but a way of freshening the content we’ve made in the past.

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New version of Recovery.gov launches

The new version 2.0 of the Recovery.gov site was launched today. I’ve been tracking recent happenings on Twitter and elsewhere, so here are some recent developments:

  • The new site is available here.
  • Rusty Talbot from Synteractive, the developers of Recovery.gov version 2.0, has posted a thread on the Sunlight Labs discussion forum asking for input from citizen developers regarding ways to make data available from Recovery.gov.
  • Nextgov have a great summary article about Recovery.gov’s call for data provision ideas with some interesting quotes from the individuals concerned.
  • Raymond Yee, a colleague of Eric Wilde and Eric Kansa at Berkeley, has published an interesting blog post with advice for Recovery.gov. They co-authored the report “Proposed Guideline Clarifications for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” earlier this year.
  • You can now follow Recovery.gov on Twitter.
  • The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) also has a YouTube account. The first video message was posted featuring RATB Chairman Earl Devaney.
  • From a SIOC perspective, I thought this quote from Nextgov referencing Chairman Devaney’s statement was interesting, as there is an opportunity to semantically link the social media contributions from many users to the financial grants in question:

    Board Chairman Earl Devaney will appeal to his so-called citizen inspectors general — or anyone interested in rooting out fraud, waste and abuse — through social media outlets, including the video-sharing site YouTube. Individuals who would like to broadcast miniblog entries about the site through Twitter can do so using hash tag #ARRA. “Our goal here is to provide the facts and the tools for the public to decide whether that is a good use of the public’s money,” Devaney said in an interview with Nextgov earlier in September. “We’re going to put the facts and the tools up so that people can mash it up.” The functions should allow citizens to draw useful observations, such as, “That’s the mayor’s brother in law — I’m going to call the Recovery Board,” he said.

    .

I previously gave some initial ideas about how grant feed data (following the Wilde / Kansa / Yee model) can be linked with user contributions using SIOC and FOAF. See this picture for an example. We also have a recently-created Linked Government Data initiative at DERI, NUI Galway carrying out research in this area.

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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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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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