Posts Tagged ‘Phil ARcher’

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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Hello 2014 (Part 2)

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Courtesy: Flickr/faul

Picking up from where we left off yesterday, we continue exploring where 2014 may take us in the world of semantics, Linked and Smart Data, content analytics, and so much more.

Marco Neumann, CEO and co-founder, KONA and director, Lotico: On the technology side I am personally looking forward to make use of the new RDF1.1 implementations and the new SPARQL end-point deployment solutions in 2014 The Semantic Web idea is here to stay, though you might call it by a different name (again) in 2014.

Bill Roberts, CEO, Swirrl:   Looking forward to 2014, I see a growing use of Linked Data in open data ‘production’ systems, as opposed to proofs of concept, pilots and test systems.  I expect good progress on taking Linked Data out of the hands of specialists to be used by a broader group of data users.

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Hello 2014

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Courtesy: Flickr/Wonderlane

Yesterday we said a fond farewell to 2013. Today, we look ahead to the New Year, with the help, once again, of our panel of experts:

Phil Archer, Data Activity Lead, W3C:

For me the new Working Groups (WG) are the focus. I think the CSV on the Web WG is going to be an important step in making more data interoperable with Sem Web.

I’d also like to draw attention to the upcoming Linking Geospatial Data workshop in London in March. There have been lots of attempts to use Geospatial data with Linked Data, notably GeoSPARQL of course. But it’s not always easy. We need to make it easier to publish and use data that includes geocoding in some fashion along with the power and functionality of Geospatial Information systems. The workshop brings together W3C, OGC, the UK government [Linked Data Working Group], Ordnance Survey and the geospatial department at Google. It’s going to be big!

[And about] JSON-LD: It’s JSON so Web developers love it, and it’s RDF. I am hopeful that more and more JSON will actually be JSON-LD. Then everyone should be happy.

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Good-Bye 2013

Courtesy: Flickr/MadebyMark

Courtesy: Flickr/MadebyMark

As we prepare to greet the New Year, we take a look back at the year that was. Some of the leading voices in the semantic web/Linked Data/Web 3.0 and sentiment analytics space give us their thoughts on the highlights of 2013.

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Phil Archer, Data Activity Lead, W3C:

The completion and rapid adoption of the updated SPARQL specs, the use of Linked Data (LD) in life sciences, the adoption of LD by the European Commission, and governments in the UK, The Netherlands (NL) and more [stand out]. In other words, [we are seeing] the maturation and growing acknowledgement of the advantages of the technologies.

I contributed to a recent study into the use of Linked Data within governments. We spoke to various UK government departments as well as the UN FAO, the German National Library and more. The roadblocks and enablers section of the study (see here) is useful IMO.

Bottom line: Those organisations use LD because it suits them. It makes their own tasks easier, it allows them to fulfill their public tasks more effectively. They don’t do it to be cool, and they don’t do it to provide 5-Star Linked Data to others. They do it for hard headed and self-interested reasons.

Christine Connors, founder and information strategist, TriviumRLG:

What sticks out in my mind is the resource market: We’ve seen more “semantic technology” job postings, academic positions and M&A activity than I can remember in a long time. I think that this is a noteworthy trend if my assessment is accurate.

There’s also been a huge increase in the attentions of the librarian community, thanks to long-time work at the Library of Congress, from leading experts in that field and via schema.org.

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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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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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Thoughts on Vocabulary Re-use in the Semantic Web and Schema.org

Phil Archer recently shared his opinion regarding the current state of vocabulary use and re-use the Semantic Web, an opinion he offered in response to a video presentation by Dan Brickley (see the video below). Archer writes, “The other day I spent 20 minutes or so absorbed in this talk by Dan Brickley and since then I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. If you have had any connection with Linked Data or the wider Semantic Web you probably know Dan personally and will certainly be well aware of his work. Dan is one of the original architects of the Semantic Web, not only co-editing the RDF-S spec with R V Guha but also creating some of the oldest and most widely used RDF vocabularies in the linked data world: the Basic Geo (WGS84 lat/long) Vocabulary and, most famously, FOAF. Dan is a big part of the RDF/Linked Data story.” Read more

EC Investigates Incompatible Vocabularies

The European Commission has launched a month-long public consultation to investigate the problem of “incompatible vocabularies used by developers of public administration IT systems. ‘Core vocabularies’ are used to make sharing and reusing data easier, and the EC hopes that if they are defined properly, it will be able to quickly and effectively launch e-Government cross-border services. The EC has divided the consultation into three separate core vocabularies; person, business and location.” Read more