Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bridging the gap: How Semantic Web can move into the mainstream through SXSW

Personally, I believe that the Semantic Web will become mainstream in the next few years (I actually have a bet on this with some college friends). I know that this is a strong statement, but I am confident that it will happen. Mainstream is defined in Wikipedia as “the common current of thought of the majority”. Furthermore it states that something is mainstream if it “is available to the general public” and it “has ties to corporate or commercial entities. However, how do you evaluate if something is on the verge of becoming mainstream? I propose the following metric: inclusion at the South by South West (SXSW) Conference!

What is SXSW?
At SXSW, “tomorrow happens here” (or so their marketing logo says). It is a 10 day conference, which takes place in Austin, Texas, about technology, film and music. SXSW Interactive (the technology part) is the place where web developers, marketers, social media, PR and basically all web related people get together to discuss and learn about the new and upcoming web companies, technologies and trends. Companies such as Twitter, Foursquare and Gowalla gained attraction thanks to SXSW. So if we want semantic web technologies to start gaining traction, this is the place where it should start.

Mainstream for whom?
After reading the wonderful blogpost on the BBC’s dynamic semantic publishing system, it reminded me that the Semantic Web has two audiences: the common web user (my mom) and developers. If my mom were to go to the BBC’s World Cup website, she would be seeing a normal web page... nothing out of the ordinary. However, from the developer’s perspective, using semantic web technologies enabled a new type of publishing platform including easy data integration, inferencing , etc.

Nevertheless, there is still a huge gap in understanding and adoption between semantic web technologies and the general web audience (my mom and developers). I’m not trying to undermine current efforts or accomplishments; instead, look for example at the Semantic Technology conference. This is valid proof that this bridge is being gaped. Starting in 2005 with 300 attendees from a variety of backgrounds (research, academia and entrepreneurs), this past conference had 1200 attendees from large enterprises, government and a lot more startups and entrepreneurs. Creating a conference exclusively around semantics, and seeing it grow demonstrates that interest for semantic technologies is growing... but maybe not mainstream yet. So what else should we do?

Current mainstream state of the Semantic Web
I have a search feed on Twitter for “Semantic Web” and “Linked Data”; and, I can say that almost everyday there is an article being shared. People are definitely discussing more and more about the Semantic Web. Nevertheless, does this mean that the Semantic Web is starting to gain traction and moving into the mainstream? It is hard to judge, but if any of the following examples are any indication, then it would be safe to assume so:

So, I restate my ask: “Isn’t this evidence enough for consideration of the Semantic Web as mainstream?” Clearly, it is becoming more widely available to the general public and increased ties in the private sector. But, I’m obviously biased, so I’ll let you be the judge.

Moving into the mainstream through SXSW
One way of how we can move the Semantic Web into the mainstream is by injecting semantics into an existing conference that already attracts a broad audience. And that is exactly what we have done! We have submitted over 10 panels and presentations to the 2011 South By South West (SXSW) Conference.

Who is “we”? By “we” I mean two things. First, it refers to Semantic Web Austin, a non-profit that is positioning Austin as a leader in the semantic web technology space. Second, refers to a group of people who responded to a call that I made last month about submitting panels and presentations to SXSW.

Without further adieu, check out all the panel and presentations that we submitted. Remember that 30% of the final decision comes from votes, which starts today and goes till August 27, so start voting!

Panel - Giving away data: was it worth it?

Almost two years after Obama’s directive to promote Open Government (Open Data) standards, we ask the following questions: 1) what are the most significant advancements made possible by this movement? 2) what have been some of the challenges in implementing and executing on the President’s call to action? 3) How are the private and public sectors working together to make this a possibility? 4) What other technical advancements lie in the horizon? This panel will explore the good, the bad and the “what’s next” for the Open Data movement. The potential panelist will be:

  • Tim Berners-Lee (Inventor of the WWW and Open Data advocate)
  • Jim Hendler (Professor at RPI and technology expert at
  • Beth Noveck (United States deputy chief technology officer for open government )
  • Nigel Shabolt (Professor at University of Southampton and technology expert at
  • Sascha Meinrath (Director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative and Research Director of the Foundation's Wireless Future Program) - moderator

Note: Thanks to Kristine Gloria for helping organize this panel

Panel - Data Nerds, Is Big Data Crushing the Web

Beneath the surface of the web is a cataclysmic explosion of data that continues to grow larger by the second. A variety of factors have led to this phenomenon, from the availability of inexpensive terabyte-scale storage to the myriad methods for sharing data about ourselves. Web data is growing at a record pace – and data junkies will soon rule the tech world.
50 million tweets per day. 1.2 million photos served per second. 50 million websites added annually. The question is, how are we expected to build the next generation of technological innovations on top of this ever-growing Everest of data? To be honest, it can be daunting.

In this panel, we’ll discuss how big data on the web changes the game for everyone. Is Hadoop good enough to manage this data explosion? Is massive web crawling dead? Is it even feasible to make such vast amounts of data open to everyone, and how do people even tap into it? Should the average Joe even care? This panel will discuss the impacts of big data on the future of the web, and debate how data will impact the next decade in tech. Potential panelist are the following:

  • Infochimps
  • 80 Legs

Panel - What the F*** is the Semantic Web
Juan Sequeda - University of Texas at Austin/Semantic Web Austin

You may have heard about it. You may or may not even understand what it is. You may be very skeptical or even call bullsh**. Or you may thing there is a potential. What am I talking about? The Semantic Web.

The web that we are all used to is a web of documents where we search for things inside of documents. The Semantic Web enables a web of data, which makes the web appear as a giant global database. The Semantic Web is here and organizations such as the Drupal, New York Times, Best Buy, Thompson Reuters and even the US and UK government make part of this reality together with Google’s Rich Snippets and Yahoo’s Search Monkey. The Semantic Web is already changing the way we search, do SEO, find information, integrate data and create web applications.

Surely, with all of the skeptics in the crowd, we expect this to be a lively discussion. We intend to interact with the audience as much as possible; so come prepared with questions. Let us prove to you why we see the future of the Web to be Semantic.

By the end of this panel, all the intrigued people should leave with a clear idea of what the Semantic Web is and all the skeptics should drop their skepticism.

Beyond Social Marketing: Leveraging the Web's Knowledge Stream
John De Oliveira - Hoovers/Semantic Web Austin
Zach Richardson - Locus

The social web isn't just for the marketing department anymore. As businesses become increasingly skilled at using social media for advertising and brand building, the next round of technologies are emerging -- technologies that will put real-time social data to work in all corners of the business. For example, a purchasing manager preparing to buy a new video conferencing system will chat directly with recent purchasers, helping him to strike a better deal. Triggers
that respond to trending Twitter topics will auto-generate tasks across the business. And startups will receive almost instant attention from the companies that would benefit most from their products.

See what happens when the leader of social strategy for a multi-billion-dollar content company teams up with the winner of MIT's Linked Data contest to look at the Web in a new way. You'll learn some fancy new terms, like "disambiguation" and "triple store". More importantly, you'll see how your business can use facts extracted from real-time social data to make better choices and accelerate your success.

Beyond Wikipedia: Crowdsourcing Structured Data
Mark Greaves - Vulcan

The immense success of Wikipedia has inspired people to imagine new ways in which crowdsourcing can solve old problems. One promising direction involves leveraging established wiki techniques crowdsource raw data, in a way that supports collaboration over the structure and schema of the data as well as its values and instances. Five years ago, the open-source Semantic MediaWiki (SMW) project was started to create software to enable a new type of wiki-based environment based on these principles. The goal of the SMW project was to allow wiki contributors to author basic data elements and data types in their articles in addition to the normal text, and to support user queries over the authored data. It was a simple and extremely powerful idea, and SMW now encompasses an active worldwide developer community.

In this presentation, I will describe SMW and the technologies that support the successful crowdsourcing of raw data. I will show how the various data-oriented features of SMW provide a set of compelling new capabilities for wiki authors (generated information graphics and consistency checkers) and for wiki readers (faceted navigation, sophisticated queries, interactive visualizations). I will illustrate the technology with several examples of different applications which have been built using SMW. Finally, I will conclude by showing a prototype of a new type of online encyclopedia, an “analytic encyclopedia,” which extends Wikipedia into the realm of structured data.

Duplication is Evil: Drupal to the Rescue
Stephane Corlosquet - Massachusetts General Hospital
Lin Clark - Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI)

Don’t repeat yourself! And don’t repeat the Web. Instead, reuse content from across the Web with Drupal’s Semantic Web tools.

Programmers have been following the philosophy of Single Source of Truth in their code for years. Smart (and lazy) programmers know that reusing code is the only way to get the job done right—to do more, write less, and make changes in one place.

Even more time consuming than maintaining repetitive code, though, is maintaining repetitive information. Feeds help share and reuse content, but only provide simple streams of information. APIs can be used to target information, but developers have to learn a new API for each service.

Lately, easy ways to single source content on the Web are appearing with new Semantic Web tools. Now you can use Wikipedia, the New York Times, or even your friends’ Web sites as your database—all without learning custom APIs. In Drupal 7, you can pull specific information, on the fly, from sites across the Web. And on the other side, you can expose your content for reuse and feed sites with your information.

Just as users don’t handcode HTML today, users can reap the benefits of SemWeb tech without having to learn all about it. With RDF in its core, Drupal 7 takes web publishing to the next level by annotating content with semantic markup. And with contributed modules, it’s easy to query other Web sites for their content without learning any new query languages or writing any code.

Escape Database Jail - Moving Beyond NoSQL
Jans Aasman - Franz

The web has gone social and is rapidly going semantic. The trend for social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc) is to expose their graph interfaces so new applications can automatically inspect and bring new value to undiscovered social patterns. The semantic trend is to add standardized metadata to everything under the sun, think Twitter Annotations, RDFa, Linked Open Data Cloud,, etc. These two trends actually need to come together. Social network relationships without links to real world entities are superficial, and metadata about real world entities without the social contexts in which they are relevant is kind of boring. For truly useful and exciting services you need a close link between the two. We will debate how relational databases (MySQL, Oracle, etc) are too inflexible to deal with these information trends and NoSQL databases (Casandra, Hadoop, etc) are far too shallow for deep analysis. We will explore ideas around new solutions that are scalable and offer the ultimate in flexibility. We will demonstrate a research project where we track VIPs and U.S. politicians by combining information from their Tweets, daily newspaper articles, content from, Facebook's Open Graph, and Linked Open Data.

Nine Web 3.0 Technologies Marketers Must Learn Fast
Tony Shaw - Semantic Universe

Web 3.0 is admittedly an ill-defined term, but there's general agreement that it represents numerous technologies that will make the web "smarter." This includes the semantic web, text analytics, natural language processing and reasoning engines. These technologies are here today, though still flying under the radar. That won't be the case much longer, and marketers need learn about them now, before they get blindsided. - RDFa - Linked Open Data - Ontologies - Semantic Publishing - Contextual Advertising - Deep Web - Listening Platforms - Sentiment Analysis - Data Branding

Left brain search = Google. Right brain search = ???
Nik Daftary -

Ever wonder why Google isn't very helpful in finding something fun to do tonight? Search engines have gotten really good at finding information, but they haven't been equally great in helping us to use that information. Enter mood-based search. By focusing on searching how we naturally think, talk and feel about the matter at hand, we can begin to find information that's relevant to us both logically and emotionally.

In this presentation, we will focus exclusively on the world of live entertainment and how mood-based search technologies might just be the next big thing for this industry.

RDFa, Microdata and Microformats: Gateway Drugs to the Semantic Web
Jay Myers - Best Buy

Semantic technologies are experiencing a "coming of age" and are more accessible to web developers than ever before. The big guys like Facebook (OpenGraph), Yahoo! (Search Monkey) and Google (Google Rich Snippets) are utilizing semantic markup to improve search results and more easily index key data on the web. With the amount of total digital information estimated to hit 10 zettabytes in 2015 and 25 zettabytes in 2020, building a strong web of data for both human and machine consumption is an emerging need -- a need that can be addressed by any web developer, using current semantic technologies.

This presentation will cover the basics of the semantic technologies, from research and concepts to RDFa and popular ontologies. We'll look at examples of semantic markup currently in use, exploring how these technologies are starting to solve real world challenges and problems. We'll also take a futuristic look at the possibilities and power of a very rich web of data.

Semantically Yours: Dating Tips for the Semantic Web
Kevin Lynch - TriviumRLG
Christine Connor - TriviumRLG

"For LTR, Symmetry. Dependent graphs welcome. Physical location irrelevant. Stability critical: will only respond to persistent URIs. Query my namespace to begin the adventure of a lifetime!"

Can you help your data find Miss Right? Yes, because you now have smarter data to create user experiences. The data has become so smart that the development of its own persona becomes valuable. Discover how smart data personas can be part of your development toolbox. By anthropomorphizing smart data, a persona based on the properties of the data and relationships reveals possibilities typical personas do not. See the smart data persona, the underlying semantics that made it possible, and how to make smart data a first-class citizen in your design process.

"Smart data" carries meaning with it, enabling machines to make better decisions with less processing. When those meanings are well-defined and shared, such as in the case of the extremely simple and popular Dublin Core vocabulary, the data itself creates powerful

We designed a search application using the Dublin Core, FOAF (Friend- of-a-Friend), and SIOC (Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities) vocabularies. We show the data persona, the application, and what makes them "smart" in this presentation, geared towards intermediate-level web developers who want to semantically-enable their social applications.

Twitter Annotations and the Real-Time Semantic Web
Josh Shinavier - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute / Franz

There's more to the real-time Web than snippets of text. Real-time services such as Twitter and Facebook have, additionally, begun to provide rich, structured metadata for use by applications: data about places, events, web pages, and, with Twitter Annotations, anything else describable in JSON or XML. This data opens the door to mashups with the large bodies of linked data already deployed on the Web, enabling new and smarter applications. Instead of a stream of tweets tagged with #sxsw, for example, how about a stream of tweets by anyone attending SXSW, about films by young French directors or presentations by anyone the user has co-authored an article with.
In such scenarios, the Semantic Web offers a shared information space in which applications can simultaneously interact with data from disparate datasets and real-time services, cutting down on case-by-case application logic and manual integration of data sources.
This session will explore the intersection of Twitter Annotations with the Semantic Web, including
1) interlinking Annotations resources and vocabularies with the Web of Data
2) using graph databases for geospatial and temporal search on the Semantic Stream
3) Annotations and the Internet of Things
4) social network anaysis enabled by Annotations and linked data
5) tools and techniques for end-user application development
See also ReadWriteWeb, "How Twitter Annotations Could Bring the Real-Time and Semantic Web Together":

Web 3.0 and Human Computation: Ancient Mayan Legacy
Javier Gramajo-Lopez - fundaTICs

The small country of Guatemala is contributing positively to the advent of web 3.0? This panel will share some of the research and projects from Guatemalan Artificial Intelligence Scientists and how a small group of a few hundred young engineers have churned out dozens of prototypes and concepts for semantic web ontologies that solve real world problems and dilemmas. The prototypes combine Semantic searches and Semantic Databases which are the base of Web 3.0. One can argue that “it was not in vain” that the Ancient Mayan people of Guatemala are known to have been the pioneers in the use of “zero” amongst all the great World civilizations. General theme of Web 3.0 to be covered by the panelists: The rapid growth and development of the Web has made it be unequally divided, ranging from Web 1.0 to Web 3.0, and even Web 4.0. Still today the main challenge is the “searching and presenting” of information. The explicit representation of the semantics underlying web resources will enable a knowledge-based web that provides a qualitatively new level of service. Automated services will one day assist humans in achieving their goals by "understanding" more of the content on the web and thus provide more accurate filtering, categorization, and search of information sources. Ontologies will play a key role.


The SXSW Interactive organizers are looking for high quality and more technical presentations. There is a larger emphasis in solo/duo presentations. I personally believe that we have high quality submissions that appeal to a broad general audience. What is the next step? The PanelPicker is live, which is the way for everybody to vote for their favorite submission. Therefore, I urge this community to vote for all these submissions so we can help the semantic web get broader traction.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Franz's AllegroGraph at Semantic Web Austin

On Saturday September 19, we had a terrific tutorial with Jans Aasman from Franz. He introduced their triplestore AllegroGraph. Personally, I was really excited about this tutorial and it lived up to all my expectations! Approximately 15 people attended from entrepreneurs, ATI startups, IBM, Hoovers and independent consultants. It was great to see this crowd excited about the real use of Semantic technologies. It is not a myth anymore! AllegroGraph showed us that it does things such as social network analysis, geo and temporal query that other databases cannot do.

Jans was a terrific presenter and everybody left with much more understanding of the role of RDF and triple stores in the real world! I already know that members of the Semantic Web Austin community are going to use AllegroGraph for their projects and companies!

We will be hosting another tutorial soon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Semantic Web Panels at SXSW 2010

This past SXSW, I was amazed about the lack of panels on Semantic Web. So this year I thought, why not make sure that a lot of high quality panels on the Semantic Web are proposed. A month ago, I sent out emails to key people in the Semantic Web community in order to help submit panel proposals for SXSW. And it was a success because we were able to submit 12 panels (and we organized this in less than 48 hours!). I also realized that there are 7 panels on Semantic Web.

Hopefully the community will realize that it is important to start learning more about Semantic Web technologies and we get a lot of votes on these panels. Remember that 30% of the final decision are based on the votes! If we get a lot of votes, maybe we could lobby for a Semantic Web track at SXSW! Why not?

I want to personally thank Ian Davis, Andraz Tori, John De Oliveira, Tom Heath, Leigh Dodds, Peter Mika and Nik Daftary for helping me organize the submission of all these panels.

So now we ask for your help! Please go and vote for these panels!!!!!!!!!!!

Set your data free
Ian Davis, CTO - Talis
Data isn't like content: it's infinitely remixable, machines churn through it by the bucketload and it isn't covered by copyright. But there are other rights that get in the way of reuse. This panel will tackle how we can free our data more effectively.

Semantic Tagging and Blogging
Andraz Tori, CTO - Zemanta
How can bloggers and social media websites take benefit of the rise of the Semantic Web? Efforts such as CommonTag and Rich Snippets are offering bloggers new options to add semantics to their blogs. This panel will discuss how bloggers and social media sites can leverage semantic tagging for their benefit.

What the hell is the Semantic Web?
Juan Sequeda, Co-Founder - Semantic Web Austin
In the past year, the Semantic Web has gained a lot of publicity. However, many may still not understand what the Semantic Web is. This panel of experts will address the myths, realities and all the open issues that the public may have about the Semantic Web

The Semantic City
John De Oliveira, Co-Founder - Semantic Web Austin
Imagine a metropolitan area with highly coordinated residents, where rich online and real world experiences amplified each other. Economic and social improvement would dramatically outpace other cities. This is the vision of Semantic Web Austin, the most active and well-funded Semantic Web organization in the United States.

Bin the Browser? Interacting with Linked Data
Tom Heath, Researcher – Talis
In among the Web of documents we've built a Web of Linked Data. It's huge, it's heterogeneous and it's here. So what are we going to do with it? Is the search/browse paradigm the right basis for Linked Data applications, or are we selling ourselves short?

Big Data, Big Dream
Juan Sequeda, PhD Student - University of Texas at Austin
How can we have applications that can scale with large amounts of data? Are relational databases sufficient? What other technologies are out there that can scale? This panel will talk about existing technologies that manage large amounts of data.

I Have Never Believed in the Semantic Web
Leigh Dodds, Program Manager – Talis
It turns out a six-year old can understand the basic idea of the Semantic Web. So why do so many developers think it's so complicated? If you're a skeptic then come and have your assumptions challenged. Find out how the web of data is being built today.

Metadata Wars: Untangling Microformats, RDFa and Microdata
John de Oliveira, Co-Founder - Semantic Web Austin
Microformats, RDFa and microdata are largely incompatible ways of annotating HTML documents with metadata. What is the difference and why do we need them all? Organizations such as Google, The Associated Press and Yahoo all have their opinions about metadata. Where is this all going?

Semantic Search: Life Beyond Ten Blue Links
Peter Mika, Yahoo!
Ten blue links with a title and an abstract have dominated the lives of search users for over a decade now. Semantic technologies have the potential to change the face of search through a deeper understanding of the needs of users and the content on the Web. Will it be a revolution in search?

Semantic Search: Off to a Good Start
Peter Mika, Yahoo!
Pursued by a number of search companies both large and small, semantic search turned into one of the hottest trends in search innovation. What's the benefit for publishers, end-users and developers? This presentation examines the case for semantic search.

Semantic Music
Yves Raimond, BBC
By publishing music information on the web as Linked Data, artists ensure that their material can be reused and discovered in new ways. Sites such as BBC Music and Myspace have been publishing structured web data enabling a wide range of innovative third party applications and mashups.

Making Dollars And Sense Out Of The Semantic Web
Nik Daftary, CEO – Turn2Live
With the advent of the semantic web, powerful new ways to consume and disseminate information will emerge. Information that once proved difficult to contextualize will now become commonly easy. So, what does that mean for consumers? In this panel discussion, we will cover what the Semantic web means to you as well as how it will change online advertising as we know it today.

Other Semantic Web related panels:

HTML5: Tales from the Development Trenches

Semantic Web From FAIL To Flourish In 2 Short Years

Beyond Algorithms: Search and the Semantic Web

Scaling the Semantic Web

Content & Semantics: The Wild, Wild Web of Data

Go Big or Go Home: Scaling Semantic Apps

Discovery Identity: API’s of the Semantic Web

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Update and Semantic Web Austin's next event: Semantic Search in Practice

I should start blogging again! Just a quick update. I am currently a researcher at the Ontology Engineering Group of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid over the summer. My goal this summer is to start a project on data integration with sensor and stream data, all with semantic web technologies! Therefore, I won't be at any of the events this summer in Austin. However, I will be traveling to SemTech in San Jose (thanks for the free registration!). Nevertheless, I am still organizing events for Semantic Web Austin and fun things are going to happen.

Tonight, we were suppose to have a meetup with Jans Aasman, CEO of Franz and creators of the AllegroGraph triplestore. Unfortunately due to a personal emergency, Jans had to cancel. We hope to reschedule this event for July.

However, June is still going to have an event! I am very please to announce that Peter Mika from Yahoo! Research in Barcelona will be coming to Austin to give a full day hands-on tutorial on "Semantic Search in Practice" . Here is the abstract:
Saturday June 27
MCC Building
3925 W Braker Lane
Austin TX 78759

While current search techniques aim at ever more sophisticated methods for searching over hypertext, the Semantic Web promises to break new boundaries in search by transforming the content itself into a form that is more easily processable by machines.

In this talk we discuss in-depth some of the technologies that can be used to annotate content for machine processing and showcase some of the ways that semantic annotations can be used to improve the search experience for users. Each part will consist of 60 minutes of presentations and 30 minutes of hands on work. This talk is intended for developers and researchers new to the Semantic Web, but also for publishers of Web content (site owners) and SEO specialists interested in preparing content for use by semantic-aware search engines and other applications. We will focus on the Web and formats used on the Web, although similar techniques are applicable to search in other contexts such as enterprise search or desktop search.

Part 1
In the first part of the talk, we describe existing and upcoming formats for embedding metadata inside Web content, including microformats, RDFa, and microdata. We illustrate these formats with practical examples, show some of the tools that can help authoring and give guidance on best practices and point out some of the pitfalls in annotating Web pages, drawing on our experience from working with large web publishers.

Part 2
In the second part, we discuss how semantic annotations are being used to improve the search experience for Web users. We introduce Yahoo's SearchMonkey platform and build a simple SearchMonkey application. We show ways to access the metadata indexed by Yahoo through the use of the BOSS API (Build Your Own Search Service) and the YQL (Yahoo Query Language) service. We also compare Yahoo's SearchMonkey platform to Google's Rich Snippet's effort. We close by discussing some of the open challenges in building semantic search engines on the Web.

9:00AM - 12:00AM: Tutorial
12:00PM - 1:00PM: Lunch
1:00PM - 4:00PM: Tutorial
4:30PM - 6:30PM: Networking at North by Northwest

We are really looking forward to this event and hopefully you are too! We have more suprises for the Austin community, so stay tuned!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Semantic Web and Linked Data: what does this all mean

This is a topic that a lot of people are discussing:

First things first. We are all up to putting names on things and making things even more confusing: Semantic Web, Web of Data, Web 3.0, Giant Global Graph. We all have the same objective: make the web's data more valuable, interoperable and accessible.

We can make smart applications once we have raw data that can be understood and accessed easily by machines.

The W3C has worked on a series of recommendations and technologies: RDF, OWL, SPARQL, RDFa, GRDDL, etc. All in order to fulfill TBL's original Semantic Web vision. In my opinion, a Semantic Web application is one that uses these technologies that have been standardized.

However, this is not the only way! I agree with you., etc do awesome "smart" stuff with movie and music data respectively. These are definetely semantic applications. However they do not use the specific W3C technologies. So following my definition, they are not Semantic Web applications, only semantic applications.

Linked Data is NOT the Semantic Web. I agree. It is an important outcome of the Semantic Web effort to put the Semantic Web technologies (RDF, OWL, etc) in practice! You can't do "smart stuff" with only linked data. You need to apply more AI techniques. However, when the data is linked, you will be able to provide the Serendipity and Discovery that the Web 3.0 promises (ouch.. not sure if I should say that, however here is my definition of the Web 3.0

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Linked Data Tutorial

Semantic Web Austin is organizing the Linked Data tutorial this Friday and Saturday from 9am to 5pm. The tutorial is exactly the same on each day, so just decide which day suits you better. The tutorial will be delivered by Tom Heath, one of the many researchers and developers of this technology. He is coming in from the UK!

However, the question is... What is Linked Data? Linked Data is about using Web technologies to connect data that is related but stored in different locations. Linked Data techniques are increasingly being used by organizations worldwide to improve the portability, reusability, and interconnectedness of their data. So if you are interested in doing mashups, and want to learn about this new technology, you better come!

More info:
Register at:

Linked Data has been the buzz word in the last month. Just last week, Tim Berners-Lee gave a presentation at TED about Linked Data.

The work that BBC Music has launched their site which is a mashup of Musicbrainz and Wikipedia...all linked data! An article about this can be found in Business Week and RWW.

Even the Wall Street Journal has commented on how Linked Data can help solve the problem in Wall Street.

The Harvard Business Review has an article of what are the things people need to know about the Semantic Web.

The Linked Data tutorial is sponsored by ATI of the University of Texas at Austin and also The Guardian newspaper of the UK (yes!! they are sponsoring us!). ATI is providing the venue and food and The Guardian is providing the BEER! We plan to have an "after-party" after the event on each day. Details will be announced on the day of each event.

Friday, November 14, 2008

November Semantic Web Austin Meetup: The Data/Information Integration Aspects of the Semantic Web

Last Semantic Web Austin meetup turned out really well! After the presentation, Roger Nasr told me that he liked the format that I was organizing: presenting other peoples work and slides, and that he wanted to help! Roger attend the JavaOne conference in May and was at Dean Allemang's talk on the Semantic Web. Dean Allemang is the Chief Scientist of TopQuadrant, a company that develops semantic web tools and together with Jim Hendler wrote "Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist: Effective Modelling in RDFS and OWL".

Roger expressed his interest of presenting the data integration aspects of the Semantic Web, inspired by Dean's presentation at JavaOne. Therefore, this Monday, Nov 17, at 6:30pm we will have our next Semantic Web Meetup. It will be at Conjunctured (1309 E. 7th St)

Title: The Data/Information Integration Aspects of the Semantic Web

One aspect of the semantic web that is getting a lot of attention from enterprise IT quarters, is its good fit for tackling the data/information integration issues in that space. In this presentation, Roger will review presentations covering this subject, emphasizing one by Dean Allemang, TopQuadrant's Chief Scientist, earlier this year at JavaOne 2008. Note that Roger's presentation is mostly meant to set the context for a group discussion of these aspects of the semantic web.

Who is Roger Nasr?

Roger started his software career in the mid 1970s, working on operating systems at Digital Equipment Corporation. He later worked on compilers, run time systems, and applications of logic programming-based AI languages. This included a six-year stint at the Austin MCC research consortium, which brought him to Austin in 1985.

Later in his career, Roger got bitten by the startup bug, and hopped around a few companies in that space. In that context, he joined Vignette Corporation, an enterprise content management company, in 1996 as one of its first five founding engineers. In 2002 he retired from Vignette after capping his career there in the role of chief technologist responsible for research projects.

Between 2004 and 2006 he was co-founder and CTO of Content Discovery, Inc, a search technology company that served the litigation digital discovery industry. Roger is currently enjoying retirement, but staying involved by studying and exploring, among others, semantic web technologies and their applications.

See y'all on Monday!