Posts Tagged ‘Ivan Herman’

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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Ivan Herman Discusses Lead Role At W3C Digital Publishing Activity — And Where The Semantic Web Can Fit In Its Work

rsz_w3clogoThere’s a (fairly) new World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) activity, the Digital Publishing Activity, and it’s headed up by Ivan Herman, formerly the Semantic Web Activity Lead there. That activity was subsumed in December by the W3c Data Activity, with Phil Archer taking the role as Lead (see our story here).

Begun last summer, the Digital Publishing Activity has, as Herman describes it, “millions of aspects, some that have nothing to do with the semantic web.” But some, happily, that do – and that are extremely important to the publishing community, as well.

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W3C’s Semantic Web Activity Folds Into New Data Activity

rsz_w3clogoThe World Wide Web Consortium has headline news today: The Semantic Web, as well as eGovernment, Activities are being merged and superseded by the Data Activity, where Phil Archer serves as Lead.  Two new workgroups also have been chartered: CSV on the Web and Data on the Web Best Practices.

What’s driving this? First, Archer explains, the Semantic Web technology stack is now mature, and it’s time to allow those updated standards to be used. With RDF 1.1, the Linked Data Platform, SPARQL 1.1, RDB To RDF Mapping Language (R2RML), OWL 2, and Provenance all done or very close to it, it’s the right time “to take that very successful technology stack and try to implement it in the wider environment,” Archer says, rather than continue tinkering with the standards.

The second reason, he notes, is that a large community exists “that sees Linked Data, let alone the full Semantic Web, as an unnecessarily complicated technology. To many developers, data means JSON — anything else is a problem. During the Open Data on the Web workshop held in London in April, Open Knowledge Foundation co-founder and director Rufus Pollock said that if he suggested to the developers that they learn SPARQL he’d be laughed at – and he’s not alone.” Archer says. “We need to end the religious wars, where they exist, and try to make it easier to work with data in the format that people like to work in.”

The new CSV on the Web Working Group is an important step in that direction, following on the heels of efforts such as R2RML. It’s about providing metadata about CSV files, such as column headings, data types, and annotations, and, with it, making it easily possible to convert CSV into RDF (or other formats), easing data integration. “The working group will define a metadata vocabulary and then a protocol for how to link data to metadata (presumably using HTTP Link headers) or embed the metadata directly. Since the links between data and metadata can work in either direction, the data can come from an API that returns tabular data just as easily as it can a static file,” says Archer. “It doesn’t take much imagination to string together a tool chain that allows you to run SPARQL queries against ’5 Star Data’ that’s actually published as a CSV exported from a spreadsheet.”

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W3C Announces Three New RDFa Recommendations

World Wide Web Consortium logoThe W3C announced today that three specifications have reached recommendation status:

HTML+RDFa 1.1:
http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/REC-html-rdfa-20130822/

RDFa 1.1 Core – Second Edition
http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/REC-rdfa-core-20130822/

XHTML+RDFa 1.1 – Second Edition
http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/REC-xhtml-rdfa-20130822/

As the W3C website explains, “The last couple of years have witnessed a fascinating evolution: while the Web was initially built predominantly for human consumption, web content is increasingly consumed by machines which expect some amount of structured data. Sites have started to identify a page’s title, content type, and preview image to provide appropriate information in a user’s newsfeed when she clicks the ‘Like’ button. Search engines have started to provide richer search results by extracting fine-grained structured details from the Web pages they crawl. In turn, web publishers are producing increasing amounts of structured data within their Web content to improve their standing with search engines.”

“A key enabling technology behind these developments is the ability to add structured data to HTML pages directly. RDFa (Resource Description Framework in Attributes) is a technique that allows just that: it provides a set of markup attributes to augment the visual information on the Web with machine-readable hints. ”

Manu Sporny, the editor of the HTML+RDFa 1.1 specification, told us that, “The release of RDFa 1.1 for HTML5 establishes it as the first HTML-based Linked Data technology to achieve recognition as an official Web standard by the World Wide Web Consortium.” Read more

Last Call Working Draft of RDF 1.1 Concepts, Semantics Published

Ivan Herman of the W3C reports, “The W3C RDF Working Group has published two Last Call Working Drafts: (1) A Last Call Working Draft of RDF 1.1 Concepts and Abstract Syntax. The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a framework for representing information in the Web. Comments are welcome through 6 September. (2) A Last Call Working Draft of RDF 1.1 Semantics. This document describes a precise semantics for the Resource Description Framework 1.1 and RDF Schema. It defines a number of distinct entailment regimes and corresponding patterns of entailment. It is part of a suite of documents which comprise the full specification of RDF 1.1. Comments are welcome through 6 September.” Read more

Navigating The World Of Open Data On The Web

At a session discussing open data on the web at the Semantic Technology and Business Conference last week, W3C eGov consultant Phil Archer had this to say: That in his mind and the minds of the semantic web technology business people gathered at the event, “Open data is strongly associated with Linked Data, but the world doesn’t necessarily agree with us.”

What they are thinking about: “JSON and CSVs are the kings,” he said. “If you look at open data portals, CSVs [which get converted to JSON files] outweigh Linked Data by a mile,” he noted. And, he said, religious wars between those who see the world as triples vs. CSVs won’t be good for anyone. “If we keep telling the public sector to aim for 5-star data, vs. CSV 3-star data, we are in danger of the whole open data movement collapsing.”

No one wants that, and to address the big picture of realizing the promise of open data, April saw The Open Data on the Web workshop take place. It was organized by the W3C, the Open Data Institute, founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, and the Open Knowledge Foundation.

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Multilingual LOD: Oh, The Possibilities

Ivan Herman recently discussed the possibilities of multilingual linked open data. He writes, “Experts developing Web sites for various cultures and languages know that it is way better to include such features into Web pages at the start, i.e., at the time of the core design, rather than to ‘add’ them once the site is done. What is valid for Web sites is also valid for data deployed on the Web, and that is especially true for Linked Data whose mantra is to combine data and datasets from all over the place.” Read more

W3C Publishes Last Call Working Drafts for RDF Data Cube, DCAT

Ivan Herman of the W3C reports, “The W3C Government Linked Data Working Group has published two Last Call Working Drafts: The RDF Data Cube Vocabulary. This is an RDF vocabulary for publishing multidimensional data, particularly statistical data. It is compatible with the cube model that underlies SDMX (Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange), a widely used ISO standard. The Data Cube Vocabulary brings essential SDMX elements to RDF, providing a standard way for governments to publish statistical information as Linked Data. Comments are welcome through 08 April.” Read more

Latest Version of RDFLib Released

Ivan Herman reports, “This has been in the works for a while, but it is done now: the latest (3.4.0 version) of the python RDFLib library has just been released, and it includes and RDFa 1.1, microdata, and turtle-in-HTML parser. In other words, the user can add structured data to an HTML file, and that will be parsed into RDF and added to an RDFLib Graph structure. This is a significant step, and thanks to Gunnar Aastrand Grimnes, who helped me adding those parsers into the main distribution.”

He goes on, “I have written a blog last summer on some of the technical details of those parsers; although there has been updates since then, essentially following the minor changes that the RDFa Working has defined for RDFa, as well as changes/updates on the microdata->RDF algorithm, the general approach described in that blog remains valid, and it is not necessary to repeat it here. Read more

The Semantic Link – February, 2013: “Libraries” with Karen Coyle

Bernadette Hyland, Ivan Herman, Eric Hoffer, Andraz Tori, Peter Brown, Christine Connors, Eric Franzon

On Friday, February 8, a group of Semantic thought leaders from around the globe met with their host and colleague, Eric Franzon, for the latest installment of the Semantic Link, a monthly podcast covering the world of Semantic Technologies. This episode includes a discussion about libraries, an area that has seen a great deal of activity in the Linked Data space recently.

“The Linkers” were joined by a very special guest to discuss what’s been happening in the library world: Karen Coyle.
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