Jennifer Zaino

Making Progress On MOOCs

8341639815_b7864c3743_z

Image courtesy palphy/Flickr

As the school year gets into full swing, folks might be starting to think about how MOOCs (massive online open courses) can help them on their own educational journeys – whether towards a degree or simply for growing their own knowledge for personal or career reasons. After a meteoric rise, MOOCs such as those offered by CourseraEdX and Udacity, have taken a few hits. Early results from a study last year by the University of Pennsylvania, for instance, said that MOOC course completion rates average just 4 percent across all courses, and range from 2 to 14 percent depending on the course and measurement of completion. The New York Times reported on some other setbacks here – but also noted that while MOOCs may be reshaped, they’re unlikely to disappear.

Some of that reshaping is underway. Among the efforts is a project announced this summer to take place at Carnegie Mellon University, in a multi-year program funded through a Google Focused Research Award. The announcement says the project will approach the problem from multiple directions, including a data-driven effort that will use machine-learning techniques to personalize the MOOC learning experience.

Read more

XSB and SemanticWeb.Com Partner In App Developer Challenge To Help Build The Industrial Semantic Web

Semantic Web Developer Challenge - sponsored by XSB and SemanticWeb.comAn invitation was issued to developers at last week’s Semantic Technology and Business Conference: XSB and SemanticWeb.com have joined to sponsor the Semantic Web Developer Challenge, which asks participants to build sourcing and product life cycle management applications leveraging XSB’s PartLink Data Model.

XSB is developing PartLink as a project for the Department of Defense Rapid Innovation Fund. It uses semantic web technology to create a coherent Linked Data model for all part information in the Department of Defense’s supply chain – some 40 million parts strong.

“XSB recognized the opportunity to standardize and link together information about the parts, manufacturers, suppliers, materials, [and] technical characteristics using semantic technologies. The parts ontology is deep and detailed with 10,000 parts categories and 1,000 standard attributes defined,” says Alberto Cassola, vp sales and marketing at XSB, a leading provider of master data management solutions to large commercial and government entities. PartLink’s Linked Data model, he says, “will serve as the foundation for building the industrial semantic web.”

Read more

Blab Builds The Conversation Graph

blab2We have the Knowledge Graph, the Enterprise Graph, the Researcher Graph, the Supply Chain Graph – and now, the Conversation Graph, too

That’s how Blab characterizes the work it’s doing to add structure to the chaotic world of online conversation, normalizing and patterning the world’s discussions across 50,000 social network, news outlet, blog, video and other channels, regardless of language – to the tune of some hundred million posts per day and 1 million predictions per minute. Near realtime predictions, says CEO Randy Browning, of what a target audience will be interested in a 72-hour forward-looking window based on what they’re talking about now, so that customers can tailor their buying strategies for AdWords or search terms as well as create or deploy content that’s relevant to those interests.

“We predict what will be important to people so they can buy search terms or AdWords at a great price before the market or Google sees it,” he says. That’s the main reason customers turn to Blab today, with optimizing their own content taking second place. Crisis management is the third deployment rationale. “If a brand has multiple issues, we can tell them which will be significant or which will be a blip and then fade away, so they can get a predictive understanding of where to focus their resources to mitigate issues coming down the pike.

Read more

TopBraid Suite 4.5 Puts The Focus on Enterprise-User Readiness

tqSemantic data integration vendor TopQuadrant’s TopBraid Suite 4.5 just hit the street, a major release that CMO and VP of Professional Services Robert Coyne says “provides a large number of new and enhanced capabilities driven primarily by customers who are using our TopBraid Enterprise Vocabulary Net solution for vocabulary and/or metadata management, or using TopBraid Live to create a custom, model-driven solution.”

The latest version, he says, features more business user and enterprise readiness-motivated improvements than any past major release since Release 4.0, when the current generation of the TopBraid EVN product was first introduced. Many of the enhancements were inspired by requests coming from different customers using TopBraid in different contexts, he notes.

New capabilities in EVN range from improved configurability for the EVN Ontology Editor, via a form builder that allows browser window management and enables users to open multiple view forms, tree and chart windows, to an improved search form that makes it possible to search on cardinalities, regular expressions, aggregates in the search counts and chart results.

Also part of the upgrade is increased support for business stakeholders who need to collaborate on defining and linking enterprise vocabularies, taxonomies and metadata used for information sharing, data integration and search. Features like that reflect the fact that a growing number of enterprise customers and business users are looking to leverage products such as TopBraid EVN, Coyne says.

Read more

A Look At The State of Information Governance

igiThis month saw the release of the Information Governance Initiative’s Annual Report for 2014, a study aiming to report the perceptions of information governance practitioners, providers and analysts as well as advance information governance as a concept, market and operational model.

The IGI consortium and think tank was founded by leaders in the information governance field and supported by vendors with semantic tech and text analytics backgrounds, including EquivioHP/Autonomy, OpenText, Recommind  and Zylab. About 500 respondents provided input to the survey.

About 80 percent of these respondents agreed that IG included risk- and value-focused activities, with the focus, however, on risk prevention, with efforts such as records information and management, information security and compliance as the top-marked concepts. That said, more than 50 percent of respondents in each case include among IG’s facets big data, business intelligence, and data science – and IGI believes that the value side will continue to grow, given the significant recent advancements in data analytics and their continuing spread through the enterprise. Given how far IG’s facets extend, “IG should serve as the coordinating function for all of these activities, tying them together into one humming, efficiently functioning operation.”

Read more

Step Right Up To Contribute To The Web of Meaning

Photo Coutesy: Flickr/Charlotte L

Photo Coutesy: Flickr/Charlotte L

Are you looking for opportunities to contribute to the web of meaning that are appropriate to filling some hours in these last lazy days of summer? Something a little less taxing than, say, creating and publishing a Linked Data set on the web?

They’re out there. Here are a few to keep you engaged while you’re soaking up the sun, hopefully on some tropical island with a warm breeze blowing and a cool drink in hand. For those of you at this week’s Semantic Web Technology and Business conference, don’t worry – these should still be waiting for your input when you get back.

Read more

New Opps For Libraries And Vendors Open Up In BIBFRAME Transition

semtechbiz-10th-125sqOpportunities are opening up in the library sector, both for the institutions themselves and providers whose solutions and services can expand in that direction.

These vistas will be explored in a session hosted by Kevin Ford, digital project coordinator at the Library of Congress at next week’s Semantic Technology & Business conference in San Jose. The door is being opened by the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME) that the LOC launched a few years ago. Libraries will be moving from the MARC standards, their lingua franca for representing and communicating bibliographic and related information in machine-readable form, to BIBFRAME, which models bibliographic data in RDF using semantic technologies.

Read more

Whose Job Is It Anyway?

Photo courtesy:  Flickr/photologue_np

Photo courtesy: Flickr/photologue_np

Will a robot take your job in the future? Given their increasing sophistication, it’s not surprising if the topic is of growing concerns to more people. The Semantic Web Blog has reported, for example, on robots that are learning to do tasks in response to humans’ natural language, and a talking robot on a space journey, covering the gamut from personal assistant to astronaut.

The Pew Research Center released a report last week entitled AI, Robotics and the Future of Jobs. It raises the question of whether advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will displace more jobs than they create by 2025, but the experts the report draws upon for their opinions haven’t reached a consensus on that point yet. Forty-eight percent believe both blue- and white-collar worker jobs are at risk, and that the future will see greater income inequality, more permanent unemployment and greater social disruption as a result. The other 52 percent see a lot of jobs that currently require real people will be taken over by robots or digital agents, as well – but with the happier prospect that humans will figure out new jobs and industries to replace the livings they can no longer make with their own brains or hands.

Read more

Drupal Deepens Semantic Web Ties

semtechbiz-10th-125sqAmong the mainstream content management systems, you could make the case that Drupal was the first open source semantic CMS out there. At next week’s Semantic Technology and Business Conference, software engineer Stéphane Corlosquet of Acquia, which provides enterprise-level services around Drupal, and Bock & Co. principal Geoffrey Bock will discuss in this session Drupal’s role as a semantic CMS and how it can help organizations and institutions that are yearning to enrich their data with more semantics – for search engine optimization, yes, but also for more advanced use cases.

“It’s very easy to embed semantics in Drupal,” says Bock, who analyses and consults on digital strategies for content and collaboration. At its core it has the capability to manage semantic entities, and in the upcoming version 8 it takes things to a new level by including schema.org as a foundational data type. “It will become increasingly easier for developers to build and deliver semantically enriched environments,” he says, which can drive a better experience both for clients and stakeholders.

Corlosquet, who has taken a leadership role in building semantic web capabilities into Drupal’s core and maintains the RDF module in Drupal 7 and 8, explains that the closer embrace of schema.org in Drupal is of course a help when it comes to SEO and user engagement, for starters. Google uses content marked up using schema.org to power products like Rich Snippets and Google Now, too.

Read more

A Look At LOD2 Project Accomplishments

lod2pixIf you’re interested in Linked Data, no doubt you’re planning to listen in on next week’s Semantic Web Blog webinar, Getting Started With The Linked Data Platform (register here), featuring Arnaud Le Hors, Linked Data Standards Lead at IBM and chair of the W3C Linked Data Platform WG and the OASIS OSLC Core TC. It also may be on your agenda to attend this month’s Semantic Web Technology & Business Conference, where speakers including Le Hors, Manu Sporny, Sandro Hawke, and others will be presenting Linked Data-focused sessions.

In the meantime, though, you might enjoy reviewing the results of the LOD2 Project, the European Commission co-funded effort whose four-year run, begun in 2010, aimed at advancing RDF data management; extracting, creating and enriching structured RDF data; interlinking data from different sources; and authoring, exploring and visualizing Linked Data. To that end, why not take a stroll through the recently released Linked Open Data – Creating Knowledge Out of Interlinked Data, edited by LOD2 Project participants Soren Auer of the Institut für Informatik III Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität; Volha Bryl of the University of Mannheim, and Sebastian Tramp of the University of Leipzig?

Read more

NEXT PAGE >>