engmap.png U.K. Semantic Web efforts are in full swing, as evidenced by a couple of recent developments:

▏ The University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science, whose roster of professors includes Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt, said it is now the UK’s first University department to release all its public data in open linked data format.

This includes data around some 20,000 publications in its Eprints archive of research papers (though not the documents themselves), research groups, teaching modules, and seminars and events. What’s key about the announcement is that there’s no legal requirement for what can be done with all the public (RDF) data from rdf.ecs.soton.ac.uk and eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk, or around its attribution, so as not to impede the development of large-scale mashups.


Data reuse will operate under the creative commons public domain (CC)) license. All the data also is loaded into a SPARQL endpoint which it plans to open up in a few weeks. “This data includes stuff like our publication metadata, membership of our research groups and projects and the mapping of module ID to module name. The risk of harm to us of someone using it without attribution are far outweighed by the risk of people not using our data!”, Christopher Gutteridge, ECS Web Projects Manager, told the Semantic Web blog.

▏ The BBC, whose bbc.co.uk site already is a strong proponent of the semantic web and linked data, has upped the ante with its World Cup 2010-focused site. The BBC has previously noted, for instance, that it uses DBpedia as a controlled vocabulary for tagging its programs (or clips from them) and news stories with DBpedia URIs so that it can mesh-up content across the BBC to create “new journeys” across bbc.co.uk. Now this week it has disclosed that Its World Cup 2010 website is the highpoint of the work it has been doing utilizing metadata and linked data to organize and manage content.

wclogo.jpg It’s the first time, the BBC says, that such a high-profile site is leveraging its innovations in creating a high-performance dynamic semantic publishing stack. Writes Jem Rayfield, Senior Technical Architect, BBC News and Knowledge, “this framework facilitates the publication of automated metadata-driven web pages that are light-touch, requiring minimal journalistic management, as they automatically aggregate and render links to relevant stories.” (See more here.)

In an earlier posting John O’Donovan, Chief Technical Architect, Journalism and Knowledge, BBC Future Media & Technology, explained that the World Cup site has over 700 aggregation pages (called index pages) that can lead readers to the thousands of story pages and content which make up the whole site. “Normally, managing all these index pages for the World Cup would not be possible as each of these needs to be curated by an editor, setting up automation rules or keeping it up to date with latest stories and information,” he wrote. “To put the scale of this task in perspective, the World Cup site has more index pages than the rest of the Sport site!”

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