Posts Tagged ‘XML’

Get The Scoop On The Critical ABCs of RDF

semtechbiz-10th-125sqThere’s a chance to learn everything you should know about RDF to get the most value from the W3C standard model for data interchange at the 10th annual Semantic Technology & Business Conference in San Jose next month. David Booth, senior software architect at Hawaii Resource Group, will be hosting a session explaining how the standard’s unique capabilities can have a profound effect on projects that seek to connect data coming in from multiple sources.

“One of the assumptions that people make looking at RDF is that it is  analogous to any other data format, like JSON or XML,” says Booth, who is working at the Hawaii Research Group’s on a contract the firm has with the U.S. Department of Defense to use semantic web technologies to achieve healthcare data interoperability. “It isn’t.” RDF, he explains, isn’t just another data format – rather, it’s about the information content that is encoded in the format.

“The focus is different. It is on the meaning of data vs. the details of syntax,” he says.

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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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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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DCL Automates The Process Of Getting Structured Data From Complex Docs

rsz_dcllogoDocuments documents everywhere, and not a [good] way to search them.

With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, that’s pretty much the situation many enterprises find themselves in. And it gets harder as more and more documents are stored with and as hard-to-index and hard-to-reuse images. How to address the problem? Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) is trying to make the job easier with its recent introduction of its Automated Conversion System, which takes documents composed of varying visual quality and imagery and converts them into structured data.

Its technology transforms these documents into searchable XML, with extracted metadata, for storing in and access by content-management and other end-user systems.

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An Easier Approach To Ontology Editing

It’s probably not news to most people that not everyone is expert at using OWL for authoring or editing ontologies. Domain experts who don’t find the XML-based syntax for OWL particularly user-friendly need a hand, and that’s where Controlled Natural Language (CNL) tools come in.

One such tool for editing and manipulating ontologies is Fluent Editor from Cognitum. The major product from the vendor, now in Version 2, lets users edit ontologies, expressed with CNL, that are compatible with OWL 2 and SWRL (Semantic Web Rule Language). When the company debuted Version 1 a couple of years back, it discovered that “there are a lot of people interested in semantic technology,” says CEO Pawel Zarzycki. That includes business analysts and other domain experts who would like to express some business rules and to leverage a semantic system for the computer as a supporting tool.

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Art Lovers Will See There’s More To Love With Linked Data

The team behind the data integration tool Karma this week presented at LODLAM (Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives & Museums), illustrating how to map museum data to the Europeana Data Model (EDM) or CIDOC CRM (Conceptual Reference Model). This came on the heels of its earning the best-in-use paper award at ESWC2013 for its publication about connecting Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) data to the LOD cloud.

The work of Craig KnoblockPedro SzekelyJose Luis AmbiteShubham GuptaMaria MusleaMohsen Taheriyan, and Bo Wu at the Information Sciences InstituteUniversity of Southern California, Karma lets users integrate data from a variety of data sources (hierarchical and dynamic ones too) — databases, spreadsheets, delimited text files, XML, JSON, KML and Web APIs — by modeling it according to an ontology of their choice. A graphical user interface automates much of the process. Once the model is complete, users can publish the integrated data as RDF or store it in a database.

The Smithsonian project builds on the group’s work on Karma for mapping structured sources to RDF. For the Smithsonian project (whose announcement we covered here), Karma converted more than 40,000 of the museum’s holdings, stored in more than 100 tables in a SQL Server Database, to LOD, leveraging EDM, the metamodel used in the Europeana project to represent data from Europe’s cultural heritage institutions.

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Callimachus Update Has Big Implications for Data Interoperability

Callimachus is getting an update. It’s been quiet for a few months over at the framework for data-driven applications based on Linked Data principles, but with good reason, says David Wood, CTO of Callimachus project sponsor 3 Round Stones. 3 Round Stones also offers Callimachus Enterprise, winner of this year’s Startup Competition at the Semantic Technology and Business Conference in San Francisco.

Big things were on the menu for this release, which should emerge from beta today. To date, all the RDF that Callimachus has dealt with has been local to it, Wood explains. “People have been saying for ages, ‘But I don’t want to copy the LOD cloud into Callimachus to deal with it. I want to deal with a lot of data out there in the world, in enterprise systems, an Oracle server, or the LOD cloud,” he says.

The new release takes on the challenge of dealing with data that’s external to Callimachus.

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Tracking World Hunger With Linked Data Service

This week the United Nations revised its findings of three years ago that more than 1 billion people worldwide were going hungry. In its 2012 State of Food Insecurity in the World report, it revised its figures of undernourished people to closer to 870 million, about the same as it is today, according to reports.

The report actually presents new estimates of the number and proportion of undernourished people going back to 1990, finding that progress in reducing hunger has been more pronounced than previously believed – especially before 2007-2008.The revised results imply that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment in the developing world by 2015 is within reach, if appropriate actions are taken to reverse the slowdown since 2007–08,” the report states.

The U.N. isn’t the only organization tracking the state of global hunger, though. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) demo is a tool adapted and developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to comprehensively measure and track global hunger – and standing behind it is LODSPeaKr (Linked Open Data Simple Publishing Kit).

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New Lessons at Semantic University

Cambridge Semantics continues to add new lessons at Semantic University. Some of the latest tutorials include:

What is Linked Data? – “This lesson is a short video lecture from Manu Sporny. He forgoes PowerPoint for whimsical, hand-drawn pieces of paper and hand gestures to introduce the subject of Linked Data for non-technical people. This lessons is more approachable than the longer, more in-depth Introduction to Linked Data, which you should visit after watching the video.” Read more

An Example of Simple Federated Queries with RDF

Bob DuCharme, author and speaker, has provided an excellent example of one of the benefits RDF has over XML. In his example, DuCharme shows how to perform a simple federated query with RDF across two different address books. He writes, “Once, at an XML Summer School session, I was giving a talk about semantic web technology to a group that included several presenters from other sessions. This included Henry Thompson, who I’ve known since the SGML days. He was still a bit skeptical about RDF, and said that RDF was in the same situation as XML—that if he and I stored similar information using different vocabularies, we’d still have to convert his to use the same vocabulary as mine or vice versa before we could use our data together.” Read more

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