Posts Tagged ‘Jeni Tennison’

ODI celebrates New Year OBE for Technical Director, Jeni Tennison

Photo of Jeni TennisonThe Open Data Institute has announced that Jeni Tennison has been awarded an OBE in the “Queen’s New Year Honours.”

For those not familiar, King George V created these honors on 4 June 1917, during World War I. The honor was intended to reward services to the war effort by civilians at home in the UK and servicemen in support positions. Today, they are awarded for prominent national or regional roles and to those making distinguished or notable contributions in their own specific areas of activity. There are three ranks to the honors: Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE) and Member (MBE). Tennison is being given the OBE.

The official release reads:

Open Data Institute (ODI) founders, Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee have warmly welcomed news that the organisation’s Technical Director, Jeni Tennison has received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

Tennison, who grew up in Cambridge, first trained as a psychologist before gaining a PhD in collaborative ontology development from the University of Nottingham.

Before joining the ODI, she was the technical architect and lead developer for, which pioneered the use of open data APIs within the public sector, set a new standard in the publication of legislation on the web, and formed the basis of The National Archives’ strategy for bringing the UK’s legislation up to date as open, public data.

Speaking about today’s Honour, ODI Chairman, Sir Nigel Shadbolt said: “Jeni inspires affection, loyalty and admiration in all who know her. She has a special blend of deep technical know how and an intuitive sense of what works in the world of the Web. In Jeni the ODI has a fantastic CTO and the open data community a great role model. It has been a privilege to work with her for over two decades and it is wonderful to see her recognised in this way.”

Before taking up her post at the ODI, Tennison worked with Shadbolt on the early linked data work on, helping to engineer new standards for the publication of statistics as linked data; building APIs for geographic, transport and education data; and supporting the publication of public sector organograms as open data.

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ODI Adds Jeni Tennison, Gavin Starks to Executive Team

The Open Data Institute has announced that Jeni Tennison will take the role of Technical Director at the Institute and Gavin Starks will take the role of CEO. The announcement states, “Created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, the ODI will open its doors this autumn and is a world-first, dedicated to incubating and nurturing new and existing businesses that want to use open data to create economic growth… The new hires will be based at the ODI’s Shoreditch HQ, which will open its doors later this year and will become a focal point for entrepreneurs and developers, start-ups and established corporates, technologists and creatives to meet, share ideas and drive growth.” Shadbolt will give a keynote address at next week’s SemTechBiz UK Conference in London. Read more

Forward Motion at the Cabinet Office’s Open Data User Group

Jeni Tennison recently discussed the work of the UK Cabinet Office’s Open Data User Group, of which Tennison is a part. She writes, “The purpose of the group is to act as an ‘intelligent customer’ to the government on the release of open data. This is a bit of a misnomer, as the word ‘customer’ implies that the group will in some way buy data that should be made open, which it’s unlikely to do. Perhaps ‘intelligent consumer’ would be more appropriate: our task is to advise the government about which data should be opened up, and (if the commitment has already been made to open it) which should be opened first or how access to it could be improved.” Read more

Keeping the UK Government Open

Jeni Tennison recently discussed the United Kingdom’s current open standards consultation, calling UK citizens to action. She writes, “Over the last few months, the UK Government has been running a consultation on its Open Standards policy. The outcome of this consultation is incredibly important not only for organisations and individuals who want to work with government but also because of its potential knock-on effects on the publication of Open Data and the use of Open Source software within public sector organisations. Read more Workshop – A Path Forward

photo of schema-org leadership panel at workshop Leadership Panel; L-to-R: Michael O'Connor (Microsoft), John Giannandrea (Google), Charlie Jiang (Microsoft), Kavi Goel (Google), R.V. Guha (Google), Steve MacBeth (Microsoft), Gaurav Mishra (Yahoo), Peter Mika (Yahoo)

A room full of interested parties gathered in Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus yesterday to discuss, its implications on existing vocabularies, syntaxes, and projects, and how best to move forward with what has admittedly been a bumpy road., you may recall, is the vocabulary for structured data markup that was released by Google, Microsoft, and Bing on June 2 of this year.  The website states, “A shared markup vocabulary makes easier for webmasters to decide on a markup schema and get the maximum benefit for their efforts. So, in the spirit of, Bing, Google and Yahoo! have come together to provide a shared collection of schemas that webmasters can use.”  (For more history about the roll-out and initial reactions to it, here’s a summary.)

Yesterday was the first time since the Semantic Technology & Business Conference in San Francisco that community members have gathered face-to-face to discuss in an open forum. It was a full agenda with plenty of opportunity for debate and discussion.

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A Harmonious Existence for RDFa and Microdata?

Jeni Tennison has added to her discussion of microdata and RDFa with a new post on how the two might live in harmony. Tennison writes, “One of the options that the TAG put forward when it asked the W3C to put together task force on embedded data in HTML was the co-existence of RDFa and microdata. If that’s what we’re headed for, what might make things easier for consumers and publishers who have to live in that world? In a situation where there are two competing standards, I think that developers — both on the publication and consumption sides — are going to want to hedge their bets. They will want to avoid being tied to one syntax in case it turns out that that syntax isn’t supported by the majority of publishers/consumers in the long term and they have to switch.” Read more

Jeni Tennison on Microdata and RDF

Jeni Tennison recently discussed microdata and RDF on her blog: “As part of the ongoing discussion about how to reconcile RDFa and microdata (if at all), Nathan Rixham has put together a suggested Microdata RDFa Merge which brings together parts of microdata and parts of RDFa, creating a completely new set of attributes, but a parsing model that more or less follows microdata’s. I want here to put forward another possibility to the debate. I should say that this is just some noodling on my part as a way of exploring options, not any kind of official position on the behalf of the W3C or the TAG or any other body that you might associate me with, nor even a decided position on my part.” Read more

Jeni Tennison on Web Development

Jeni Tennison recently shared her experiences working with web standards in her work at In particular, Tennison looks at how her organization has need to use multiple technologies in concert to achieve various publishing goals and satisfy various types of data consumers.  She begins, “One of the things that’s been niggling at the back of my mind since the announcement is how small a role search engine results plays in the wider data sharing efforts that I’m more familiar with in my work on, and more generally how my day job experience differs from (what seem to be) more common experiences of development on the web. In this post, I’m going to talk about that experience, and about the particular problems that I see with the coexistence of microdata and RDFa as a result.” Read more

Linked Data API introduced at London Meetup

Last week, the Second Linked Data Meetup London was held at the University of London Union. There were several compelling presentations discussed on Twitter  including the BBC’s use of Linked Data for their Wildlife Finder app. One of the many promising topics to emerge from the day was the introduction of a new Linked Data API. While there have been other Linked Data APIs (Pubby and irON), this API has the more narrow goal of lowering the bar for non-SemWeb developers to access these rich data collections. It is intended as a simple RESTful layer that returns JSON representations of RDF collections backed by a SPARQL endpoint. The API was primarily developed by Dave Reynolds, Jeni Tennison and Leigh Dodds. At the "How the Web of Data Will Be Won" talk by Jeni Tennison and John Sheridan, they emphasized that extending their successes on exposing government data in a linked fashion will require a focus on usability to attract new developers.

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