Richard Wallis

Schema.org, Wikidata, Google Knowledge Graph – Two Great Causes and a Symptom

I was toying with another title for this post – Yet Another Perfect Storm, but I think that particular metaphor (although appropriate here) has been somewhat over done.  So what sparked this one then?

I am on the long flight back from the Semantic Tech & Business Conference in San Francisco to the good ol’ UK, to see how they got on with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee festivities.  I am reflecting on what my week at the conference has told me.  It has told me that things are a changing – I got that impression last year too, but more so this year.  Obviously, from the title of this post, it has something to do with Schema.org, Wikidata, and the Google Knowledge Graph….

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CloudSearch — New From Amazon Web Services

Amazon CloudSearch Amazon Web Services have added CloudSearch to their increasingly comprehensive portfolio of everything a developer would ever want.

Amazon CloudSearch is a fully-managed search service in the cloud that allows customers to easily integrate fast and highly scalable search functionality into their applications. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, developers simply create a search domain, upload the data they want to make searchable to Amazon CloudSearch, and the service then automatically provisions the technology resources required and deploys a highly tuned search index.

In their press release they say CloudSearch is based on technology that has been rattling around on their network for a while – A9.
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A Fundamental Linked Data Debate

linkeddata_blue There is a fierce debate going on in the world of the Semantic Web and Linked Data, the question being is it of fundamental importance to realising the benefits of the technology or are they just dancing on the head of a pin.    The core debate revolves around something with the stunningly opaque title of the httpRange-14 issue.

The debate has been rumbling on for years but was reignited over the last few days by proposals being submitted to the W3C to clarify and hopefully simplify things.  I use the word ignited as that what I was beginning to think my iPhone was about to do – it has been buzzing away like a bumblebee on speed over the last few days announcing the arrival of yet another passionately held opinion from a member of the respected Semantic Web/Linked Data community from Sir Tim Berners-Lee downwards.    Fortunately for those of you that do not follow the W3C’s Technical Architecture (TAG) and Linked Open Data (public-lod) mailing lists it may have gone unnoticed.

Let me try to explain, in as simple terms as possible, what the fuss is all about and why it may be important.  From my point of view, and there are many surrounding this, the issue is a combination of two problems.

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The Flap of a Butterfly Wing

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus Male Yes you are right, one of the prime reasons for this post is an excuse to show some stunning pictures from nature.  However, there is also good reason to explore a Linked Data example, provided by Pete DeVries of the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, in his recent submission to the W3C public-lod mailing list.

Pete shows a good example of the benefits of Linked Data.  He provides links to information about the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) from several Linked Data datasets, each of which provide different, but overlapping views.

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#SemTechBiz Berlin – Day 2

After a great day yesterday I was eager to to discover what today’s program had to offer.  Unfortunately I had to set off for the airport, where I am now writing this, before the end.  However I caught most of the day and here are my few thoughts and recollections.

P1000760Today’s Keynote was in the form of a panel discussing Semantics in the Automotive Industry with Martin [GoodRelations] Hepp, John Kendall Streit of Tribal DDB, William Greenly of AQKA, and François-Paul Servant from Renault.  They discussed their experiences in pioneering the use of Linked Data / Semantic Web technologies and approaches in the automotive domain.
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#SemTechBiz Berlin – Day 1

Confernce Hotel Berlin This very cold day in Berlin finds me in the large glass emporium known as the Seminaris CampusHotel Berlin, built on the campus of the Freie Universität Berlin.  I am here with an expected 150 delegates, 50 plus speakers, and 6 exhibitors for the first Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Berlin.  Hopefully I can over the next few paragraphs give you a feel for some of what I experienced on day one.  Obviously with a twin track program I could only experience part of the day, but here we go anyway….

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The Simple Power of the Link

47408181_919573dfd2 I often read blogs and watch conference presentations extolling the virtues and benefits of adopting Semantic Web and Linked Data techniques & technologies. It makes me wonder how those new to the field ever get through the blizzard of acronyms and techno-speak, to understand what is being promoted and how it might be relevant to them and their business.  In this post I will attempt to demystify and identify the core benefits of Linked Data without burying you in LD-speak!

Let me start with the web itself.  Imagine if you will that you have just returned from desert island exile for the last decade and a half. You are introduced to the web and start using Google searching to find out what this web thing is all about. You are assailed with an overwhelming array of acronyms terms and concepts – Ajax, Javascript, HTML, CSS, HTTP, XML, DOM, URL, Flash, RDFa, JSON, Microformats, SEO – argh! where do you begin?  However after some digging it becomes clear that there is a blindingly simple concept at the core that only uses three of them: HTML – a simple markup language to describe how a web page should be laid out, URL – a globally unique way to address a page on the Internet, HTTP – a simple way to request and receive a page across the Internet. Read more

More Emphasis on Business Benefits in 2012

Photo of Richard WallisRichard Wallis is founder of Data Liberate.  A Technology Evangelist and Consultant,  he is at the forefront in promoting, explaining, and applying new and emerging Web and Semantic Web technologies in the wider information domain.  Richard is well known on the conference platform in the Semantic Web, Library, and Information Management sectors.  He is also an active blogger and regular podcaster.


2012 will be the year that Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies could go mainstream, but yet will get talked about less.  I believe this is inevitable, for a technology that is about to turn the corner, or kick up the adoption curve – choose your favourite phrase.  Like the Web itself, already adopted by technology laggards, and now recognised only as a service that facilitates being ‘in Facebook’ or streaming movies to your tablet.

To support this theory, it is interesting look at some of the recent moves taking place in my own backyard, the UK.   A couple of significant ones are coming out of the Talis stable.  Talis have been at the leading edge of Semantic Web development for much of the last decade, with a reputation for promoting the practical benefits of applying Linked Data techniques and technologies, whilst evolving their cloud-based Linked Data platform to deliver and demonstrate these benefits in their own products and services. Read more