Posts Tagged ‘World Wide Web Consortium’

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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Wide Web Consortium has headline news today: The Semantic Web, as well as eGovernment, Activities are being merged and superseded by the Data Activity, where Phil Archer serves as Lead.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.”

Read more

A Look Into Learning SPARQL With Author Bob DuCharme

Cover of Learning SPARQL - Second Edition, by Bob DuCharmeThe second edition of Bob DuCharme’s Learning SPARQL debuted this summer. The Semantic Web Blog connected with DuCharme – who is director of digital media solutions at TopQuadrant, the author of other works including XML: The Annotated Specification, and also a welcome speaker both at the Semantic Technology & Business Conference and our Semantic Web Blog podcasts – to learn more about the latest version of the book.

Semantic Web Blog: In what I believe has been two years since the first edition was published, what have been the most significant changes in the ‘SPARQL space’ – or the semantic web world at large — that make this the right time for an expanded edition of Learning SPARQL?

DuCharme: The key thing is that SPARQL 1.1 is now an actual W3C Recommendation. It was great to see it so widely implemented so early in its development process, which justified the release of the book’s first edition so long before 1.1 was set in stone, but now that it’s a Recommendation we can release an edition of the book that is no longer describing a moving target. Not much in SPARQL has changed since the first edition – the VALUES keyword replaced BINDINGS, with some tweaks, and some property path syntax details changed – but it’s good to know that nothing in 1.1 can change now.

Read more

A Closer Look At SemTechBiz Startup Competition Winner: KnowMED And Its Clinical Discovery Platform

KnowMED walked away the big winner of the Semantic Start-Up Competition. The Semantic Web Blog caught up with CTO Matthew Vagnoni, MS, and CEO Jerry D. Scott to further discuss the company’s winning entry, the Clinical Discovery Platform, for helping the health care sector semantically integrate data and ask natural language questions of that data, to support clinical research and complex decision-making.

The problem that the health care industry at large faces of not being able to easily and efficiently integrate and share data across organizations’ borders is equally a challenge right within the institutions themselves. “Large modern health care organizations are somewhat insular,” says Vagnoni.

At Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas, as an example, there are three separate electronic health record systems just for its neonatal division. The diverse formats and vocabularies made it difficult to try to ask questions of this data for research or efficiency purposes. But within two months of deploying KnowMED’s Clinical Discovery Platform, Vagnoni says, most of the data was integrated into a single view, “so clinicians could interact with it almost like using Google. …We combined the data from all the different sources so that clinicians could go in and ask questions [that reflect] how they think, not how [the information] is in the data schema.”

Read more

Gmail, Meet JSON-LD

Another announcement by Google this week – one that didn’t get quite as much play as the launch at I/O of Google Play Music All Access and improvements to its search, map and Google + services – was this: Support for JSON-LD markup in Gmail.

The W3C in April published a Last Call Working Draft for JSON-LD 1.0 (JavaScript Object Notation for Linking Data), a lightweight Linked Data format to give data context. It has been shepherded along for some time by the JSON for Linked Data Community Group.

Manu Sporny, who has been instrumental in JSON-LD’s development and is one of the authors of the draft, heralds the news here in his blog, noting that it means that Gmail now will be able to recognize people, places, events and a variety of other Linked Data objects, and that actions may be taken on the Linked Data objects embedded in an e-mail. “For example, if someone sends you an invitation to a party, you can do a single-click response on whether or not you’ll attend a party right from your inbox. Doing so will also create a reminder for the party in your calendar,” he writes.

The news was greeted with enthusiasm on a W3C JSON LD message round, as, as Sporny describes it, “pretty big validation of the technology.”

While noting that Google followed the standard closely, Sporny does point out some issues with the implementation – including a major one that Google isn’t using the JSON-LD @context parameter correctly in its markup examples:

Read more

SemTechBiz Puts Spotlight On Financial Industry Business Ontology

Image Courtesy: Flickr/Patrick Hoesly

The financial services industry is taking to semantic tech in an important way, and that’s in the form of the Financial Industry Business Ontology (FIBO), which aims to standardize the language used to precisely define the terms, conditions, and characteristics of financial instruments; the legal and relationship structure of business entities; the content and time dimensions of market data; and the legal obligations and process aspects of corporate actions. Attendees at SemTech Biz in San Francisco will get a deep dive on the how’s and why’s, at this session, while the FIBO Technology Summit invitation event will present an opportunity for working collaboratively to continue advancing the effort that has its roots in The Enterprise Data Management Council and communities of interests.

Leading that event will be Dennis E. Wisnosky, founder of Wizdom Systems, Inc. and former CTO and Chief Architect of the DoD Business Mission Area, who was recently named to provide technical strategy and operational guidance to help the Council finalize and implement FIBO standards, and David S. Newman, SVP & Strategic Planning Manager Enterprise Architecture at Wells Fargo, and Chair of the EDM Council’s Semantics Program. (Newman, with Enterprise Data Management Council Head of Semantics and Standards Mike Bennett, will also host the SemTech FIBO session.)  Speaking of the upcoming event, Wisnosky explains that a goal is to cast a wide net to find the new tech ideas and developments that both can bring benefits to FIBO in the short term and influence the longer-term research agenda to help the financial industry.

As FIBO stands now, in June the second draft of the FIBO Foundations ontology and the conceptual FIBO Business Entities ontology will be presented at a meeting of the Object Management Group in Berlin. By year’s end it is expected that the OMG will have ratified these as formal standards. “We are on the path to turn the corner from thinking of what FIBO will be to delivering it,” says Wisnosky. Read more

Semantic Web Gets Closer To The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is coming, but it needs a semantic backbone to flourish. With some 25 billion devices expected to be connected to the Internet by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020, providing interoperability among the things on the IoT “is one of the most fundamental requirements to support object addressing, tracking, and discovery as well as information representation, storage, and exchange.” So write the authors of Semantics for the Internet of Things: Early Progress and Back to the Future, Payam Barnaghi and Wei Wang, Centre for Communication Systems Research, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK and Cory Henson, Kno.e.sis – Ohio Center of Excellence in Knowledge-enabled Computing.
“The suite of technologies developed in the Semantic Web … such as ontologies, semantic annotation, Linked Data and semantic Web services … can be used as principal solutions for the purpose of realizing the IoT,” they state. “Defining an ontology and using semantic descriptions for data will make it interoperable for users and stakeholders that share and use the same ontology.”

Applying semantic technologies to IoT, however, has several research challenges, the authors note, pointing out that IoT and using semantics in IoT is still in its early days. Being in on the ground floor of this movement is undeniably exciting to the research community, including people such as Konstantinos Kotis, Senior Research Scientist at University of the Aegean, and IT Manager in the regional division of the Samos and Ikaria islands at North Aegean Regional Administration Authority.

Read more

Semantic Tech Outlook: 2013

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Lars Plougmann

In recent blogs we’ve discussed where semantic technologies have gone in 2012, and a bit about where they will go this year (see here, here and here).

Here are some final thoughts from our panel of semantic web experts on what to expect to see as the New Year rings in:

John Breslin,lecturer at NUI Galway, researcher and unit leader at DERI, creator of SIOC, and co-founder of Technology Voice and StreamGlider

Broader deployment of the schema.org terms is likely. In the study by Muehlisen and Bizer in July this year, we saw Open Graph Protocol, DC, FOAF, RSS, SIOC and Creative Commons still topping the ranks of top semantic vocabularies being used. In 2013 and beyond, I expect to see schema.org jump to the top of that list.

Christine Connors, Chief Ontologist, Knowledgent:

I think we will see an uptick in the job market for semantic technologists in the enterprise; primarily in the Fortune 2000. I expect to see some M&A activity as well from systems providers and integrators who recognize the desire to have a semantic component in their product suite. (No, I have no direct knowledge; it is my hunch!)

We will see increased competition from data analytics vendors who try to add RDF, OWL or graphstores to their existing platforms. I anticipate saying, at the end of 2013, that many of these immature deployments will leave some project teams disappointed. The mature vendors will need to put resources into sales and business development, with the right partners for consulting and systems integration, to be ready to respond to calls for proposals and assistance.

Read more

Good-Bye to 2012: Continuing Our Look Back At The Year In Semantic Tech

Courtesy: Flickr/LadyDragonflyCC <3

Yesterday we began our look back at the year in semantic technology here. Today we continue with more expert commentary on the year in review:

Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead:

I would mention two things (among many, of course).

  •  Schema.org had an important effect on semantic technologies. Of course, it is controversial (role of one major vocabulary and its relations to others, the community discussions on the syntax, etc.), but I would rather concentrate on the positive aspects. A few years ago the topic of discussion was whether having ‘structured data’, as it is referred to (I would simply say having RDF in some syntax or other), as part of a Web page makes sense or not. There were fairly passionate discussions about this and many were convinced that doing that would not make any sense, there is no use case for it, authors would not use it and could not deal with it, etc. Well, this discussion is over. Structured data in Web sites is here to stay, it is important, and has become part of the Web landscape. Schema.org’s contribution in this respect is very important; the discussions and disagreements I referred to are minor and transient compared to the success. And 2012 was the year when this issue was finally closed.
  •  On a very different aspect (and motivated by my own personal interest) I see exciting moves in the library and the digital publishing world. Many libraries recognize the power of linked data as adopted by libraries, of the value of standard cataloging techniques well adapted to linked data, of the role of metadata, in the form of linked data, adopted by journals and soon by electronic books… All these will have a profound influence bringing a huge amount of very valuable data onto the Web of Data, linking to sources of accumulated human knowledge. I have witnessed different aspects of this evolution coming to the fore in 2012, and I think this will become very important in the years to come.

Read more

NEXT PAGE >>