Image Courtesy: Flickr/Lori Greig

It doesn’t matter whether this month you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, or anything else. In December, most everyone’s thoughts turn to presents. So, what makes it to the top of some semantic web and data experts’ holiday gift lists for their friends, family, colleagues – the world?

We asked, and their (mostly) semantic-web inspired holiday lists include some real and some imagined – not to mention imaginative – ideas. Read on:

John Breslin, Lecturer and researcher at NUI Galway, Creator of SIOC

If I could give out some Christmas tools or tips to colleagues or friends, the first would be to try out Drupal 7 on their own website, and get the metadata out there. I’d also ask that my friends show their friends some of the cool semantically-powered tools like Siri or Sig.ma to show the power of linking things together with semantics. Finally, in terms of useful non-semantic free programs, I’d give out Evernote, Dropbox, Inkscape, the Gimp, and TweetDeck (great for multiple keyword searches like “semantic web” OR semanticweb OR “sem web” OR semweb). Oh, and an online backup program of your choice, like Mozy or CrashPlan!

Christine Connors, Founder & Information Strategist, TriviumRLG

Hmmm… so many ideas!  Better personal information management tools, certainly. An app that integrates contact information from ALL the places it lives. An app that filters Facebook posts based on context! ;)

But really, I think to fully embrace the spirit of the season, I would sit down and think of each person on my community Christmas list and try to come up with a good elevator pitch for them, based on the promise I see in the good work they are doing. It’s something we ALL can use.

Nick Ducoff, CEO and co-founder, InfoChimps

Since we are crossword fans, we’d like to give away an account on a web application designed for crossword fans who like to cheat: give it a clue and a letter count and let the application use a semantified list of crossword words to come up with a few best guesses.  Maybe it would be a web service that gets baked into the NY Times crossword puzzle app on your iPhone!

Alex Iskold, Founder and CEO, AdaptiveBlue GetGlue

I’d like to get and give a personal secretary that “understands” what tasks, appointments, meetings, etc. I do routinely and helps me stay organized and on top of things. If there is a version of Bob that does not get on our nerves, but instead gently reminds me that I need to do X or I have to contact Y or I’ve not reviewed Z – I’d love that.

Connie Kenneally, President, Textwise

One gift each for Google, Yahoo and Microsoft:  A  contextual semantic (not key word) one click-related content button  to place at the end of each entry on a search engine result page, coupled with the ability to place an RSS feed on a semantic related link button!  Boy, would searchers appreciate that!


Mark Montgomery, founder and CEO, Kyield

My gift to the world via the semantic web would be the same as I preached to web 1.0 and 2.0 — an economic model based on logic that is sustainable and not self-destructive, rather than sensationalism and exploitation.

One model might be (where we had some success early on) –a paid subscription model with embedded intelligence — based far more on quality and much less on quantity. A related secondary gift would be some kind of trans sem web credit for the quality (and even context/learning quotient) consumed along the lines of traditional academia. Our society still rewards century old testing models and moss covered ivy when the relevancy has clearly moved on at warp speed.

On a personal level, my gift to sem web k-workers would be the realization that while big data can be found on the web from gov sources, wisdom can be better sourced in nature, and happiness in human relationships and spirituality.

William Mougayar , CEO, Eqentia

An ambient semantic app that can make a linkage between what you’re thinking and what’s around you that’s of interest. Then it generates a series of semantic tags on these interests and gathers the latest information for you, in a personalized manner.

Marco Neumann, CEO, Kona

In terms of a present I would give people access to a full-blown, semantically enabled server for publishing their own RDF data.

Mike Petit, co-founder and CIO, OpenAmplify

In terms of holiday gifts, I’d give social media users a means of eliminating some of the noise from their world. So much stuff flows around social networks that knowing what you can safely ignore is a real, quality of life improvement. SemWeb can deliver that, by understanding the content and then classifying what requires attention. “Here’s a real gift, social media user: less irrelevant junk to read.”

Nova Spivack, CEO of Lucid Ventures and Live Matrix

I think FindTheBest.com is one of the more interesting new contenders. Great CEO and top VC’s as well. I would wrap that one up and suggest it to folks who are interested in structured data on the Web this year.

A Few Off The Semantic Web Path

Sid Banerjee, CEO, Clarabridge

I had a lot of fun with the “lost in translation” tool. I mean, don’t you wonder what would happen to your words after they’ve been translated and re-translated into a few different languages?  Isn’t usually anywhere near what you said. So why not Babelize it?

Andy Ellenthal, CEO, Peer39

With the continued conversation on online privacy, I’d like to provide a subscription to the industry for Email Alerts from the FTC :).

David Siegel, entrepreneur and author, The Power of  Pull

I’m going to recommend three books that changed my life this year, and I hope that’s of some use.

The first is “Nurture Shock,” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. If you have children living in your home, you must read this book. It’s an evidence-based look at the myths that propel our parenting and educational systems, and it will change the way you interact with your kids.

The second is “Bounce,” by Matthew Syed. Syed is a former world ping-pong champion who turns out to be an even better writer. The book is a fascinating look at human performance. If you have kids who aspire to be good at something, it will change the platform you provide them.

The third, and probably most important, is “Griftopia,” by Matt Taibbi. He’s a long-time writer for the Rolling Stone who has a habit of asking annoyingly tough questions. In this book, he shows how bankrupt our economy really is, and it’s no accident. The “Bush Years” laid the foundation for the raping and pillaging of the American consumer, and it will take us a generation to recover, but we probably won’t. Most of the practices and mechanics that allowed the previous administration to give away the public’s nest egg to a handful of corporation and wealthy individuals are still firmly in place. Wall Street continues to profit even as more money is suctioned out of the middle class. It’s a sobering and important read. Even though he takes the assignment with more than a little enthusiasm, he also skewers the Obama (and, to some degree the Clinton) administration(s) for caving into corporate interests and continuing the kleptocracy. Please read this book.