Open data

FLAX a Winner on the World’s Technology Stage

flax29 October, 2014 — Software designed at the University of Waikato and used all around the world has won a major international competition.

FLAX, which stands for Flexible Learning Acquisition, has taken first place at the Linked Vici Competition, held to acknowledge development in open and linked data for educational purposes.

The win was announced at the 13th International Semantic Web Conference, in Riva del Garda, Italy, with FLAX taking first place from 10 shortlisted candidates. Read more

New World War I Encyclopedia Relies on Semantic MediaWiki

19141918onlineHeritage Daily recently reported, “A comprehensive, English-language, open access encyclopedia of what was deemed the ‘Great War’ was introduced and released on Wednesday 8th October, in Brussels. The project ‘1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War’ is managed by researchers at Freie Universität Berlin in cooperation with the Bavarian State Library. It is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). The encyclopaedia combines the latest historical research with the many advantages of the Semantic Web. The content was written and compiled by 1,000 experts from 54 countries, and is continuously being updated and expanded.” The encyclopedia can be accessed here. Read more

Berners-Lee Shares Voices His Opinions on Data Ownership

timbernersleeAlex Hern of The Guardian reports, “The data we create about ourselves should be owned by each of us, not by the large companies that harvest it, the Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, said today. Berners-Lee told the IPExpo Europe in London’s Excel Centre that the potential of big data will be wasted as its current owners use it to serve ever more ‘queasy’ targeted advertising. By gaining access to their own data, people could use it with information about themselves from other sources in order to create ‘rich data’ – a far more valuable commodity than mere ‘big data’, he said.”

Hern continues, “Berners-Lee said that ‘people only look at one angle’ of big data. ‘When you read big data pieces in a magazine, it’s about how big companies are spying on you. A lot of the marvel of big data is a threat to me. Read more

DBpedia 2014 Announced

DBpedia logoProfessor Dr. Christian Bizer of the University of Mannheim, Germany, has announced the release of DBpedia 2014. DBpedia is described at dbpedia.org as  “… a crowd-sourced community effort to extract structured information from Wikipedia and make this information available on the Web. DBpedia allows you to ask sophisticated queries against Wikipedia, and to link the different data sets on the Web to Wikipedia data. We hope that this work will make it easier for the huge amount of information in Wikipedia to be used in some new interesting ways. Furthermore, it might inspire new mechanisms for navigating, linking, and improving the encyclopedia itself.”

The full announcement on the new release is reprinted below with Bizer’s permission.

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DBpedia Version 2014 released

1. the new release is based on updated Wikipedia dumps dating from April / May 2014 (the 3.9 release was based on dumps from March / April 2013), leading to an overall increase of the number of things described in the English edition from 4.26 to 4.58 million things.

2. the DBpedia ontology is enlarged and the number of infobox to ontology mappings has risen, leading to richer and cleaner data.

The English version of the DBpedia knowledge base currently describes 4.58 million things, out of which 4.22 million are classified in a consistent ontology (http://wiki.dbpedia.org/Ontology2014), including 1,445,000 persons, 735,000 places (including 478,000 populated places), 411,000 creative works (including 123,000 music albums, 87,000 films and 19,000 video games), 241,000 organizations (including 58,000 companies and 49,000 educational institutions), 251,000 species and 6,000 diseases. Read more

Introducing RoboBrain: An Online Brain for Robots

robobrainDaniela Hernandez of Wired recently wrote, “If you walk into the computer science building at Stanford University, Mobi is standing in the lobby, encased in glass. He looks a bit like a garbage can, with a rod for a neck and a camera for eyes. He was one of several robots developed at Stanford in the 1980s to study how machines might learn to navigate their environment—a stepping stone toward intelligent robots that could live and work alongside humans. He worked, but not especially well. The best he could do was follow a path along a wall. Like so many other robots, his ‘brain’ was on the small side. Now, just down the hall from Mobi, scientists led by roboticist Ashutosh Saxena are taking this mission several steps further. They’re working to build machines that can see, hear, comprehend natural language (both written and spoken), and develop an understanding of the world around them, in much the same way that people do. Read more

Modern Science Must Be Open Science

3515348126_4315caf417Peter Murray-Rust of OpenSource.com recently wrote, “Open is about sharing and collaboration. It’s the idea that ‘we’ is more powerful, more rewarding and fulfilling than ‘I’. I can’t promise jobs, but I do know that openis becoming very big. Governments and funders are pushing the open agenda, even though academics are generally uninterested or seriously self-interested. Some governments and some companies recognize the value of teams; academia and academics generally don’t. The false values of impact factor and the false values of academic publishing mean that open access is a poor reflection of open, or what you may recognize as the open source way.” Read more

Symplectic Becomes the First DuraSpace Registered Service Provider for the VIVO Project

vivoResearch Information recently reported, “Symplectic Limited, a software company specialising in developing, implementing, and integrating research information systems, has become the first DuraSpace Registered Service Provider (RSP) for the VIVO Project. VIVO is an open-source, open-ontology, open-process platform for hosting information about the interests, activities and accomplishments of scientists and scholars. VIVO aims to support open development and integration of science and scholarship through simple, standard semantic web technologies.” Read more

Data.gov Turns Five

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Nextgov reports, “When government technology leaders first described a public repository for government data sets more than five years ago, the vision wasn’t totally clear. ‘I just didn’t understand what they were talking about,’ said Marion Royal of the General Services Administration, describing his first introduction to the project. ‘I was thinking, ‘this is not going to work for a number of reasons.’’ A few minutes later, he was the project’s program director. He caught onto and helped clarify that vision and since then has worked with a small team to help shepherd online and aggregate more than 100,000 data sets compiled and hosted by agencies across federal, state and local governments.” Read more

Tax Time And The IRS Is On Our Minds

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Have you checked out the IRS Tax Map this year? If not, what better way to spend April 15 (aside from actually filing those returns, of course).

The IRS Tax Map, as explained here, actually began as a project in 2002, as a prototype to address the business need for improved access to tax law technical information by the agency’s call center workers. These days, Tax Map is available to taxpayers to offer them topic-oriented access to the IRS’s diverse information products, as well. It aims at delivering semantic integration via the Topic Maps international standard (ISO/IEC 13250), grouping information about subjects, including those referred to by diverse names, in a single place.

It was created for the IRS by Infoloom in cooperation with Plexus Scientific and Coolheads Consulting. Infoloom explains on its web site that it lets customers control what is returned by search queries via a topic map approach that lets them extract from existing content information on the topics they need to represent, without having to build a taxonomy of terms, and add specific knowledge to that information as part of the extraction process.

Read more

Nigel Shadbolt on the Web’s First 25 Years & Digital Enlightenment

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Peter Judge of Tech Week Europe reports, “In the last quarter of a century, the world wide web has changed society so much that we should be talking of a ‘Digital Enlightenment’, says Sir Nigel Shadbolt, who predicts the next next 25 years will bring even bigger changes. In the 25th anniversary of the creation of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has been calling for a Bill of Rights for the Internet. Shadbolt’s talk of Enlightenment dovetails well with that of the web’s inventor, as you might expect, since they jointly created the discipline of Web Science, founded Britain’s Open Data Institute, and have collaborated on numerous other projects, attempting to shape the way society relates to this utterly transforming phenomenon.” Read more

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