Posts Tagged ‘FOAF’

The Web Is 25 — And The Semantic Web Has Been An Important Part Of It

web25NOTE: This post was updated at 5:40pm ET.

Today the Web celebrates its 25th birthday, and we celebrate the Semantic Web’s role in that milestone. And what a milestone it is: As of this month, the Indexed Web contains at least 2.31 billion pages, according to WorldWideWebSize.  

The Semantic Web Blog reached out to the World Wide Web Consortium’s current and former semantic leads to get their perspective on the roads The Semantic Web has traveled and the value it has so far brought to the Web’s table: Phil Archer, W3C Data Activity Lead coordinating work on the Semantic Web and related technologies; Ivan Herman, who last year transitioned roles at the W3C from Semantic Activity Lead to Digital Publishing Activity Lead; and Eric Miller, co-founder and president of Zepheira and the leader of the Semantic Web Initiative at the W3C until 2007.

While The Semantic Web came to the attention of the wider public in 2001, with the publication in The Scientific American of The Semantic Web by Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila, Archer points out that “one could argue that the Semantic Web is 25 years old,” too. He cites Berners-Lee’s March 1989 paper, Information Management: A Proposal, that includes a diagram that shows relationships that are immediately recognizable as triples. “That’s how Tim envisaged it from Day 1,” Archer says.

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The Semantic Web And Data Privacy

Photo courtesy: FlickR/ Alan Cleaver

Photo courtesy: FlickR/ Alan Cleaver

Happy Data Privacy Day!

The semantic web community has done its share of thinking on the data privacy topic, as evidenced by events such as Privacy Online 2013 at the International Semantic Web Conference in Australia. Recognizing the impact of semantic technologies on privacy, the workshop aimed to focus on raising awareness that the technologies the semweb community is working on have global societal consequences as well as to raise the awareness of interconnections between the different communities that are involved in Web privacy and security.

If you haven’t had a chance to have a look before, today’s the perfect day to check out the papers that were accepted for that event, which you can access here.

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A Semantic Lift For Social Journalism

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/ NS Newsflash

Everyone’s heard about the concept of citizen journalism. But what about social semantic journalism?

As The Semantic Web Blog initially reported here, a NUI Galway project focusing on social semantic journalism recently received funding from Science Foundation Ireland, and Dr. Bahareh R. Heravi, Postdoctoral Researcher and Work Group Lead, Digital Humanities and Journalism, at NUI’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is starting the initial phase of the effort with a feasibility study.

“The project idea comes from the fact that in recent years a lot of news has been generated on social media,” says Heravi. Journalists have leveraged this user-generated content (UGC) to find stories and support their work. It’s been especially helpful to them when it’s too dangerous or expensive for a news organization to send reporters to a region, or when it’s impossible to gain access to an area due to conflicts there, or when a natural disaster occurs in a place where the media company generally lacks a presence. Read more

Single Sign-On Can Improve Healthcare Systems

Shahid Qadri has written an article for Med City News about how to use WebID to create single sign-on access for health care systems. He writes, “The Simple Sign-on challenge sponsored by the ONC through the Health 2.0 challenge was an exciting opportunity for us to learn about a sophisticated technology protocol and then being able to hack several open source system to implement a single sign on solution based on the protocol. This was a challenge that was truly a ‘challenge’ for me, but an exciting and rewarding one (our solution was the second place winner!).” Read more

Semantic Tech Outlook: 2013

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Lars Plougmann

In recent blogs we’ve discussed where semantic technologies have gone in 2012, and a bit about where they will go this year (see here, here and here).

Here are some final thoughts from our panel of semantic web experts on what to expect to see as the New Year rings in:

John Breslin,lecturer at NUI Galway, researcher and unit leader at DERI, creator of SIOC, and co-founder of Technology Voice and StreamGlider

Broader deployment of the schema.org terms is likely. In the study by Muehlisen and Bizer in July this year, we saw Open Graph Protocol, DC, FOAF, RSS, SIOC and Creative Commons still topping the ranks of top semantic vocabularies being used. In 2013 and beyond, I expect to see schema.org jump to the top of that list.

Christine Connors, Chief Ontologist, Knowledgent:

I think we will see an uptick in the job market for semantic technologists in the enterprise; primarily in the Fortune 2000. I expect to see some M&A activity as well from systems providers and integrators who recognize the desire to have a semantic component in their product suite. (No, I have no direct knowledge; it is my hunch!)

We will see increased competition from data analytics vendors who try to add RDF, OWL or graphstores to their existing platforms. I anticipate saying, at the end of 2013, that many of these immature deployments will leave some project teams disappointed. The mature vendors will need to put resources into sales and business development, with the right partners for consulting and systems integration, to be ready to respond to calls for proposals and assistance.

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Stardog RDF Database Bites Into Fat Part Of The Market

Clark & Parsia’s Stardog lightweight RDF database is moving into release candidate 1.0 mode just in time for next week’s upcoming Semantic Technology & Business Conference in San Francisco next week. The product’s been stable and useable for awhile now, but a 1.0 nomenclature still carries weight with a good number of IT buyers.

The focus for the product, says cofounder and managing principal Kendall Clark, is to be optimized for what he says is the fat part of the market – and that’s not the part that is dealing with a trillion RDF triples. “Most people and organizations don’t need to scale to trillions of anything,” though scaling up, and up, and up, is where most of Clark & Parsia’s competitors have focused their attention, he says. “We’ve seen a significant percentage of what people are doing with semantic technology and most applications are not at a billion triples today.” Take as an example Clark & Parsia’s customer, NASA, which built an expertise location system based on semantic technology that today is still not more than 20 million triples. “You might say that’s a little toy but not if you are at NASA and need defined experts, it is a real, valuable thing and we see this all the time,” he says.

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Catching Up With Yandex: What Russia’s Leading Search Engine Has To Say About Schema.org

Update: Yandex today (April 26th) reported that net income in the first three months of 2012 rose 53 percent from the same period last year to 1.26 billion rubles ($43 million) as text-based advertising revenue rose, according to Bloomberg. Sales gained 51 percent to 5.9 billion rubles.

In November Russian search engine Yandex joined Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! to collaborate on schema.org. The Semantic Web Blog recently caught up by email with Alexander Shubin, Yandex product manager and head of strategic direction, to discuss this and other developments.

The Semantic Web Blog: Can you update us about how Yandex is doing? We know it’s still leading search traffic in Russia, but do you see more competition there, and how have international expansion plans been proceeding?

Shubin: Yandex is the leader in Russia with 59 to 60 percent market share. Russia is one of the few countries where a local search engine keeps a leading position, in spite of international players’ expansion.

Last year Yandex was launched in Turkey, where we suggest 12 services (including web search) so far. According to our statistics, yandex.com.tr processes more than 1 million queries daily. Turkey is the first non-Russian speaking market for us and we have done a lot of work to deliver services that would be interesting for the local community.  The main target for Yandex in Turkey, where one search engine still keeps 90 percent of search market, is to become the Number 2 player and to deliver more local search results and services than our competitor does.

Turkey is more or less an experiment for us: If we meet our target there, we can potentially do the same on any other non-Russian speaking market. But it is too early to make any conclusions or announcements so far as we have worked in Turkey only half of year. Stay tuned!

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Common Misconceptions about the Semantic Web

A new article by Jesse Weaver corrects two misconceptions about the semantic web. The first is that the semantic web strives to create “one ontology to rule them all.” The article states, “To my knowledge, nobody has ever claimed that there should be ‘one ontology to rule them all.’ Instead, what is regularly promoted is ontology reuse and/or integration. For example, the FOAF ontology is widely used in the semantic web to describe persons; why create your own ontology when you can reuse a well-established one? Integration of ontologies allows for conciliation of perspectives, causing data that use these ontologies to become meaningfully related. Admittedly, there are some rather large, comprehensive ontologies out there, and there are some very popular and pervasive ones, too. However, there is no standard or recommendation that requires publishers of RDF data to comply with any particular ontology. You could even ignore the RDF vocabulary if you so please (yes, even rdf:type).” Read more

Experimental App’s Semantic Signature Feature Aims At Making FOAF Files Reliable Source of Identity Information

An experimental application from Safelayer, dubbed FOAF Manager, is intended to provide trust to the wealth of information on social networks – identity information in particular. Safelayer, a well-known name in the European ICT security market, develops technology for m anaging digital identification and trust in information and communication networks, with authentication, electronic signature and data protection solutions in its portfolio.

The Semantic Web Blog, which recently looked at the evolution of WebID for identity and login management, had a chance to exchange email with Helena Pujol, research project leader at Safelayer, on the company’s work in the trust arena:

Semantic Web Blog: How did the Semantic Web come to Safelayer’s attention around security/trust issues?

Pujol: Our success is based on investing heavily in R&D in order to bolster our strategy of differentiation through technology and innovation. One of our research focuses has been the Semantic Web, and in particular, how ontologies and semantic standards and tools can contribute to improve our products, conferring on them properties of intelligent inference, application interoperability and information integration.

FOAF Manager is one of the experimental applications resulting from these research activities.

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Time For Another Look at WebID?

Looked into WebID lately? Maybe it’s time. The open standard for identity and login seems to be gaining more momentum following the spring W3C Workshop on Identity in the Browser. That’s when W3C WebID Incubator chair Henry Story presented a position case on the standard; that was followed up by the Berlin Social Web event that included an explanatory video of WebID that he created. Recently The Semantic Web Blog also has noticed some positive commentary in the Twittersphere about WebID’s progress, too.

It’s been a few years since Story hit upon the Subject Alternative Name field in x.509 certificates as an appropriate way to accommodate an owner’s WebID URL. (A URL to name things, says Story, webizes trust.) Since then work has been underway to ensure implementations work across browsers and web servers and different systems, and earlier this year the WebID Incubator Group was born to further advance the protocol. “The biggest part of the battle until now was just to get people to realize there is a way of solving these issues they’ve wanted to solve for a long time that was completely open, built into browsers, and could work,” says Story. “So now people are enthusiastic about the concept because it is so simple.”

The problem having been that, without the aid of the Semantic Web, using a client-side certificate will only work with one web site, making it not much more useful than relying on a user name and password at each one anyway. “So that gives a whole lot of hassle for nearly no value, until we discovered how when you merged this with the Semantic Web …you can use this technology people think of as centralized in a de-centralized way,” he says. “And suddenly it works because you use the web in a webbish way, and you distribute trust around the web.”

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