My colleague Jana Herwig amazes me regularly in terms of being not only innovative but by implementing plans.
Her latest gig: She produced a short movie on make.tv about our new book “Social Semantic Web”. (Sorry, clip & book are both in German)
The cool thing about this tool is obviously that videos can be produced on quite a high level within hours (if you´re as quick as Jana ;-).
Call for participation (Open until Dec. 22, 2008):
The survey aims to uncover the current state of information and awareness regarding the uses and areas of application of Social Software and Semantic Web technologies. A special focus is put in using these technologies in companies and public organisations. The survey is addressed to individuals from the industry and research alike and wants to contribute to gaining a better understanding of the potentials and barriers for the application of new web technologies.
It took a while and I was waiting for the book to come like a child waiting for Christmas. But now it´s out – our new book: Social Semantic Web (Web 2.0 – was nun?).
Springer: Social Semantic Web
Web 2.0 – and now? This question is answered by 49 authors in 24 articles.
One hypothesis which is discussed in this book: Especially the idea of “transferring” Web 2.0 into an Enterprise Environment should be backed by semantic web technologies.
Read more about this book (in German) in our Semantic Wiki.
Just recently an inspiring new user interface came out, which gives users an idea, that “googling” the web isn´t the ultimate way to find information on the web: Freebase Parallax by David Huynh. David was also strongly involved in some projects of CSAIL at MIT which also dealt with the “simple” question: How to make (web) data more accessible for users who aren´t aware of SPARQL, SQL or OLAP cubes. For example, Exhibit became a wide-spread environment to setup a faceted search on a given dataset. A bit more sophisticated is the “nested faceted browser” – and now Parallax is out.
In his screencast about this “novel browsing interface” David stresses the advantages over Google or Wikipedia. Is this a fair competition? So what is the novel thing?
- If you want to learn a bit more about Abraham Lincoln – go to Wikipedia!
- If you want to know where you can find even more information about Abraham Lincoln – go to Google!
- If you know a bit about Abraham Lincoln already, and you want to aggregate or compare some facts of his life to other presidents or you want to visualise some data on a time-line or on a map – learn how to handle a tool like Parallax (and don´t complain, that this isn´t as simple as Google anymore)!
In some ascpects Parallax was a missing building block in the web universe: (Professional) fact finding on the web could work like this in the close future (although Parallax needs some more servers and – indeed – some more data in the database).
But what if Parallax became the graph-based UI on top of Freebase + LinkingOpenData?
From September 26 – 27 a Conference on the Social Semantic Web (CSSW) will be held in Leipzig. The conference will end with a panel discussion on the question “Is there a Social Semantic Web?”.
My opinion is: Yes, there is only a social semantic web. The internet as a whole is of course a social system (what else? drop some bombs and the internet becomes senseless…) which starts reflecting about itself. This process we call the social semantic web.
It is like a little kid starting to talk and to find out that language is about abstracting real things like emotions or feelings. This little person also starts to find out that language is not only about connecting some words, no, there are rules how to connect things.
The novel thing about the semantic web is that the first time in humanity we create a space where human beings will create reality together with computers. Since computers have on advantage compared to people that´s helpful indeed: They have a better overview. They “know” what´s going on in the internet from a higher altitude. YOU will always be the one who teaches the machine and if this collective process won´t be manipulated by some people this will be an even more effective symbiosis on the social semantic web than it´s already now on the Web 2.0.
First of all: I enjoyed this year´s Triple-I very much. I met a lot of friends and colleagues in Graz, had plenty of interesting discussions, I gave a talk about “Enterprise n+1” (together with Franz Novak and Henry Story) and a semantic wiki tutorial (with Denny Vrandecic and Sebastian Schaffert), I have seen interesting keynotes and other talks and we all enjoyed very good food and excellent wine.
To get an impression of the great atmosphere of the congress go to Leo Sauermann´s photoset about the triple-i on flickr.
The congress showed that the interest for semantic technologies from industrial perspective has exceeded a level where it´s not necessary anymore to be a missionar, but rather to offer concrete products. Together with the huge changes in people´s minds which came in with Web 2.0 the Semantic Web will also offer some answers to the privacy discussion.
Marc Smith´s (Microsoft Research) keynote was an excellent example how fascination about what can be done with technology sometimes covers possible dangers too much. Marc was fascinating the audience a lot. He showed nice applications in the mobile social web. And at the end he warned: “Hey guys, do you really want to be observed by some companies?”.
Same thing with Peter Reiser´s (Sun Microsystem) keynote: He said, that Web 2.0 principles can be applied for internal knowledge management, but it will only be accepted if the privacy issue will be discussed beforehand.
So my question: Do you really know what Amazon, Google & Co. know about YOU – the person of the year 2006? And isn´t that another important issues also for the Open Data philosophy?
September 2007 will start with an exciting event (Triple-I in Graz/Austria) and will end with a top-class conference (Semantic Web Strategies, San Jose, CA) both dealing with questions about the applicability of the semantic web.
Since the global semantic web community is growing fast (many new technologies, start ups and more or less mature systems pop up every week) it is very important to keep track of interesting projects.
I will chair a semantic wiki tutorial (thanks to Sebastian Schaffert who is presenting IkeWiki and Danny Vrandecic who will explain the benefits of his semantic media wiki) and give a talk about “Enterprise n+1” together with Franz Novak and Henry Story from Sun Microsystems in Graz.
After I have made my long way to the Silicon Valley I will give a tutorial on the Semantic Web in general with a strong focus on economic issues. Again, Semantic Wikis play an integral role when explaining the benefits of the Semantic Web, metadata can´t be produced only by some experts. From a technical point of view it´s clear what´s exciting about the semantic web, but in what cases is it really applicable? How can a project roll-out be done? What role plays “semantic education” for the involved employees?
I am also looking forward discussing in a Keynote roundtable about Semantic Web Strategies for organizations. (See also: Interview with Bob DuCharme).
Still both, promoters and critics, have the same opinion: The Semantic Web is (or: would be) an exciting new option to enhance the Web (1.0 and 2.0) and Information Management throughout companies. Promoters are maybe still a bit too optimistic and enthusiastic and critics often are not aware how simple the semantic web can be applied. Maybe they will meet each other this year in September….
This year´s ESWC hosted the 3rd International Workshop on “Scripting for the Semantic Web” (SFSW 2007). I really enjoyed that event, also because of the very friendly and relaxed atmosphere in that community. Danny Ayers started with a talk called “Two Webs!“. He pointed out the ways to use the “Semantic Web” (again: it´s NOT a completely new web aside Web 2.0!) as an “RDF-Bus” where existing data sources can be interlinked quite easily (see: LinkingOpenData @ SWEO).
I also enjoyed talking with Sören Auer, Chris Bizer, Danny Ayers, Tom Heath and some others very much. Thanks to the organizers!
An outstanding talk at this year´s European Semantic Web Conference was Ron Brachman´s “Emerging Sciences of the Internet: Some New Opportunities“. Yahoo´s (and somehow this company has more and more to do with the Semantic Web…) Vice-President of Worldwide Research (with his strong background in the fields of AI and description logics) pointed out the need for rethinking traditional approaches of computer science: “…another emerging element in what we might call a new Science of Search is a social one… Will ontologies matter or do folksonomies rule? Others have begun to address the substantial differences between the social Web world and the Semantic Web world. While sometimes portrayed as diametrically opposed, the sides may benefit from each other if we look more deeply. My intuition is that there is room for synergy, and it would behoove us to investigate.”
That´s it! The Social Semantic Web finally became a huge business opportunity… (And again, I think it´s actually more accurate to say “Semantic Social Web”, because it´s the Social Web which will be enhanced by Semantic Web technologies and not vice versa.)
together with Leo Sauermann talking about the Semantic Desktop “war mir ein großes Volksfest”. Thanks Leo!