Dominik Schweiger, Zlatko Trajanoski and Stephan Pabinger recently wrote, “Semantic Web has established itself as a framework for using and sharing data across applications and database boundaries. Here, we present a web-based platform for querying biological Semantic Web databases in a graphical way. Results: SPARQLGraph offers an intuitive drag &drop query builder, which converts the visual graph into a query and executes it on a public endpoint. The tool integrates several publicly available Semantic Web databases, including the databases of the just recently released EBI RDF platform. Furthermore, it provides several predefined template queries for answering biological questions. Users can easily create and save new query graphs, which can also be shared with other researchers.” Read more
Posts Tagged ‘Semantic Web Technologies’
Research Information recently reported, “Symplectic Limited, a software company specialising in developing, implementing, and integrating research information systems, has become the first DuraSpace Registered Service Provider (RSP) for the VIVO Project. VIVO is an open-source, open-ontology, open-process platform for hosting information about the interests, activities and accomplishments of scientists and scholars. VIVO aims to support open development and integration of science and scholarship through simple, standard semantic web technologies.” Read more
“There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new order of things…. Whenever his enemies have the ability to attack the innovator, they do so with the passion of partisans, while the others defend him sluggishly, so that the innovator and his party alike are vulnerable.”
–Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (1513)
The Semantic Web is not here yet.
Additionally, neither are flying cars, the cure for cancer, humans traveling to Mars or a bunch of other futuristic ideas that still have merit.
A problem with many of these articles is that they conflate the Vision of the Semantic Web with the practical technologies associated with the standards. While the Whole Enchilada has yet to emerge (and may never do so), the individual technologies are finding their way into ever more systems in a wide variety of industries. These are not all necessarily on the public Web, they are simply Webs of Data. There are plenty of examples of this happening and I won’t reiterate them here.
Instead, I want to highlight some other things that are going on in this discussion that are largely left out of these narrowly-focused, provocative articles.
First, the Semantic Web has a name attached to its vision and it has for quite some time. As such, it is easy to remember and it is easy to remember that it Hasn’t Gotten Here Yet. Every year or so, we have another round of articles that are more about cursing the darkness than lighting candles.
In that same timeframe, however, we’ve seen the ascent and burn out failure of Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA), Enterprise Service Buses (ESBs), various MVC frameworks, server side architectures, etc. Everyone likes to announce $20 million sales of an ESB to clients. No one generally reports on the $100 million write-downs on failed initiatives when they surface in annual reports a few years later. So we are left with a skewed perspective on the efficacy of these big “conventional” initiatives.
A new article reports that the Hasso Plattner Institute will be launching a free online course on Semantic Web Technologies which should begin on May 26, 2014. According to the article, “Anyone wishing to keep up with the current university knowledge on information technology will again have the opportunity in the coming year with the five free online courses to be offered by Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI). The new courses listed in the just released openHPI overview for 2014 are: Concepts in Parallel Computing, Networking via the Internet Protocol TCP/IP, Semantic Web Technologies, In-Memory Data Management and Introduction to Internet Security. Read more
Ian Jacobs recently interviewed retiring Chevron executive Roger Cutler regarding Chevron’s use of semantic web technologies. Cutler stated, “In one project we sought to exploit the technical strengths of Semantic Web technology such as the expressiveness and reasoning achievable with OWL. While our efforts in that project have been a success as far as the technology goes, we have not yet seen a significant business benefit.”
Cutler continued, “A second effort focused on challenging integration problems that involve information about equipment in major capital projects such as an oil rig or platform. These capital projects involve tens of thousands of objects: flanges, pumps, blowout preventers, sub-assemblies, and so on. All the pieces of equipment come with documents (for safety and regulatory reasons, engineering drawings, etc.) and manufacturer’s specifications (e.g., temperatures at which the components function).” Read more
A recent article reports, “A new generation of cybertools developed at Cornell will help researchers share and analyze rare Sri Lankan language recordings important for studying language acquisition in children. The Sinhala language, only spoken on the island of Sri Lanka, is ‘very precious’ because of the unique way it is structured, said project leader Barbara Lust, professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology and director of the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab. It provides an invaluable opportunity to research which aspects of language acquisition are universal or biologically programmed and which are culturally determined, she said.” Read more
Lee Feigenbaum recently wrote an article on the value of semantic web technologies, noting in particular the value of making semantic technologies common, coherent, and standard. Feigenbaum writes, “Semantic Web technologies are broadly applicable to many, many different use cases. People use them to publish pricing data online, to uncover market opportunities, to integrate data in the bowels of corporate IT, to open government data, to promote structured scientific discourse, to build open social networks, to reform supply chain inefficiencies, to search employee skill sets, and to accomplish about ten thousand other tasks.” Read more
A recent article reminds businesses that the semantic web is here and asks what they’re going to do about it. The article states, “Web 3.0 has enabled people and machines to connect, evolve, share and use knowledge. Looking even further ahead, with Web 4.0 wherein we have a self-learning intelligence, the distinctive advantage will come from the combination of semantic technologies, like text analytics, along with other analytical models that extend semantic interoperability. In other words, having feedback loops for improving models – utilizing both semantic representations along with those from areas such as data mining, forecasting, optimization, simulations, and alike. Using these technologies, organizations will create that higher-order learning that did not exist using any one of those methods in isolation.” Read more
A new post on the Wolters Kluwer blog discusses how semantic technologies support transitions in business. The author, Christian Dirschl, begins, “I have been in the business for ten years now. I remember that in the beginning I started to develop DTDs in order to represent our content in a more structured (today we’d say ‘semantic’) way. I also remember developing new offline-products with enhanced search capabilities like field search or slightly adjusted relevance ranking algorithms. A lot has changed in the meantime, but transition has not come to an end – actually, quite the contrary can be observed. The challenges that come with this transition are still the same: What kind of information does my customer need? What added-value will he pay for? [And] what information channels do we have to support?” Read more
iSOCO, a Spanish semantic technology company that specializes in helping companies position themselves in the Network Economy, is planning a major international expansion. According to a recent article, iSOCO “has decided to push further afield by opening branches that will enable it to replicate its business strategy in other countries and, above all, extend its experience and knowledge as a creator of technological business solutions for companies and institutions.” Read more
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