Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Miranker’

Constitute: Explore the World’s Constitutions with RDF

screen shot of constituteproject.orgIn the video below, Dr. James Melton, a Lecturer in Comparitive Politics at University College London, gives a presentation on Constitute. Constitute is a new way to explore the constitutions of the world. The origins of the project date back to 2005 with the Comparative Constitutions Project, which has the stated goal of cataloging the contents of all constitutions written in independent states since 1789. To date, that work has resulted in a collection of 900+ constitutions and 2500+ Amendments.  A rigorous formal survey instrument including 669 questions was then applied to each of these “constitutional events,” resulting in the base data that the team had to work with. Melton and his group wanted to create a system that allowed for open sharing of this information, and not just with researchers, but with anyone who wants to explore the world’s constitutions. They also needed the system to be flexible enough to handle changes, when, as Melton points out, “…roughly 15% of the countries in the world change their constitution every single year.”

Read more

Highlights from WWW 2012 Conference

Juan Sequeda photoThis year was the 21st World Wide Web Conference located in Lyon, France. This conference is a unique forum for discussion about how the Web is evolving. There were hundreds of talks over 3 days. Let me summarize some Semantic Web presentations I was able to attend.


Programmers daily use the wget tool to specify and retrieve data on the Web. However, wget is limited since it cannot dig into the semantics of Web data to do the job. What if you were to add semantics to wget? This is the question that Valeria Fionda, Claudio Gutierrez and Giuseppe Pirró asked themselves. They took that question to the next level: imagine a semantic wget on top of Linked Data. They wanted to create a language to declaratively specify portions of the Web of Data, define routes and instruct agents that can do things for you on the Web. All this by exploiting the semantics of information (RDF data) found in online data sources. For example, find all the Wikipedia pages of directors that have been influenced by Stanley Kubrick and send them to my email; retrieving information about David Lynch from different information providers only gives a hint of what can be done. The researchers developed a simple, generic declarative language, NautiLOD and implemented it in swget (semantic wget). swget comes in two flavors: a simple command line tool (to give the Web back to users) and a GUI. This is not a fantasy anymore. Check it our for yourself (

Read more