Posts Tagged ‘SPARQL’

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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RDF 1.1 is a W3C Recommendation

RDF 1.1Almost exactly 10 years after the publication of RDF 1.0 (10 Feb 2004, http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-concepts/), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced today that RDF 1.1 has become a “Recommendation.” In fact, the RDF Working Group has published a set of eight Resource Description Framework (RDF) Recommendations and four Working Group Notes. One of those notes, the RDF 1.1 primer, is a good starting place for those new to the standard.

SemanticWeb.com caught up with Markus Lanthaler, co-editor of the RDF 1.1 Concepts and Abstract Syntax document, to discuss this news.

photo of Markus LanthalerLanthaler said of the recommendation, “Semantic Web technologies are often criticized for their complexity–mostly because RDF is being conflated with RDF/XML. Thus, with RDF 1.1 we put a strong focus on simplicity. The new specifications are much more accessible and there’s a clear separation between RDF, the data model, and its serialization formats. Furthermore, the primer provides a great introduction for newcomers. I’m convinced that, along with the standardization of Turtle (and previously JSON-LD), this will mark an important point in the history of the Semantic Web.”

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First of Four Getty Vocabularies Made Available as Linked Open Data

Getty Vocabularies - Linked Open Data logoJim Cuno, the President and CEO of the Getty, announced yesterday that the Getty Research Institute has released the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) ® as Linked Open Data. Cuno said, “The Art & Architecture Thesaurus is a reference of over 250,000 terms on art and architectural history, styles, and techniques. It’s one of the Getty Research Institute’s four Getty Vocabularies, a collection of databases that serves as the premier resource for cultural heritage terms, artists’ names, and geographical information, reflecting over 30 years of collaborative scholarship.”

The data set is available for download at vocab.getty.edu under an Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC BY 1.0). Vocab.getty.edu offers a SPARQL endpoint, as well as links to the Getty’s Semantic Representation documentation, the Getty Ontology, links for downloading the full data sets, and more.

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Keep On Keeping On

“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)

Atlanta's flying car laneIn case you missed it, a series of recent articles have made a Big Announcement:

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.

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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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How BestBuy is SPARQLing This Holiday Season

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Jay Myers of BestBuy recently wrote, “Shortly before Black Friday, one of my colleagues approached me with a curious question. ‘Mr. SVP XYZ was talking today about us creating a promo page of ‘stocking stuffers’. Do you think you could produce a list of products that might be ‘stocking stuffers’?’. After some discussion, we agreed that these products would be under $20 and be 5”x5” or smaller to qualify as a stocking stuffer. In a couple hours time we had a SPARQL generated list of 190 products (thank you @bsletten) on a promo page for anyone who searched for the ‘stocking stuffers’ phrase. A classic last minute, rogue (skunkworks?) effort.” Read more

In Search Of Apps To Leverage Public BioMolecular Data In RDF Platform

rsz_rdfpfThe European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) that is part of Europe’s leading life sciences laboratory this fall launched a new RDF platform hosting data from six of the public database archives it maintains. That includes peer-reviewed and published data, submitted through large-scale experiments, from databases covering genes and gene expression, proteins (with SIB), pathways, samples, biomodels and molecules with drug-like properties. And next week, during a competition at SWAT4LS in Edinburgh, it’s hoping to draw developers with innovative use case ideas for life-sciences apps that can leverage that data to the benefit of bioinformaticians or bench biologists.

“We need developers to build apps on top of the platform, to build apps to pull in data from these and other sources,” explains Andy Jenkinson, Technical Project Manager at EMBL-EBI. “There is the potential using semantic technology to build those apps more rapidly,” he says, as it streamlines integrating biological data, which is a huge challenge given the data’s complexity and variety. And such apps will be a great help for lab scientists who don’t know anything about working directly with RDF data and SPARQL queries.

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HealthCare.Gov: Progress Made But BackEnd Struggles Continue

rsz_hcgovThe media has been reporting the last few hours on the Obama administration’s self-imposed deadline for fixing HealthCare.gov. According to these reports, the site is now working more than 90 percent of the time, up from 40 percent in October; that pages on the website are loading in less than a second, down from about eight; that 50,000 people can simultaneously use the site and that it supports 800,000 visitors a day; and page-load failures are down to under 1 percent.

There’s also word, however, that while the front-end may be improved, there are still problems on the back-end. Insurance companies continue to complain they aren’t getting information correctly to support signups. “The key question,” according to CBS News reporter John Dickerson this morning, “is whether that link between the information coming from the website getting to the insurance company – if that link is not strong, people are not getting what was originally promised in the entire process.” If insurance companies aren’t getting the right information for processing plan enrollments, individuals going to the doctor’s after January 1 may find that they aren’t, in fact, covered.

Jeffrey Zients, the man spearheading the website fix, at the end of November did point out that work remains to be done on the backend for tasks such as coordinating payments and application information with insurance companies. Plans are for that to be in effect by mid-January.

As it turns out, among components of its backend technology, according to this report in the NY Times, is the MarkLogic Enterprise NoSQL database, which in its recent Version 7 release also added the ability to store and query data in RDF format using SPARQL syntax.

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