SEMANTiCS 2014 celebrating its 10th anniversary


SEMANTiCS conference series will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year in September. SEMANTiCS (formerly known as I-Semantics) has had a long tradition in buidling bridges between practitioners and researchers in the areas of semantic web and linked data technologies. Therefore the SEMANTiCS consortium has developed new strucutures to further elaborate on this special character of this event series:

  • Each conference session will combine talks from industry and research – those two interest groups won’t be seperated from each other anymore
  • DBpedia community will be integrated deeply into SEMANTiCS conference: DBpedia has been the most successful activity in this area so far. A lot of industry-related projects has been built around this dataset. Therefore the 2nd meeting of the DBpedia association will be co-located with SEMANTiCS (taking place on September 3rd, also in Leipzig).
  • Transfer-oriented side events and a centrally located market place will offer great opportunities to discuss about state-of-the-art technologies in the areas of Semantic Web standards based software and products.

I am also happy to announce that PoolParty Semantic Suite is one of the Gold sponsors of this event this year. See you in Leipzig!

Why mockups are essential for semantic applications design

Applications based on semantic technologies offer new ways to discover, browse and explore information – this is for sure. But how can we (as a semantic web “insider”) explain these potential benefits to a typical end-user, who has never heard anything about “faceted search” before (which doesn´t mean that he wouldn´t love intelligent user interfaces if they were in place)?

The answer are mockups (in a sense of prototyping user interfaces). Although even Google has started recently to implement a little bit semantics by offering auto-complete functionality on (on some local versions like this feature is still not available) most basic concepts for an intelligent search interface are still not common sense.

We are that googlized that nearly none of us can think of different ways of searching for information than Google has offered for many years now: Put a couple of words in a text box, click a button and scroll through a list of headers and abstracts. Repeat that until you´re done. Wow!

Of course, many people get irritated instantly by complex user interfaces like David Huynh´s Freebase Parallax. “That´s only for experts!” is their response. But in a corporate setting complex queries belong to our daily business – they are just not supported by common search engines (only exception are data mining solutions). But that doesn´t necessarily mean that we wouldn´t need it.

Where is the way out of this dilemma?

  • Explain to the end-users how semantic technologies can enhance search & browse experiences
  • Do not use terms like SPARQL or RDF
  • Create a simple mockup to explain it
  • You´re not a designer? Use tools like Balsamiq – Try it now!

Here is an example for a mockup of a semantically enhanced expert finder:

These kind of mockups are essential for any requirements engineering phase in any project where search is a bit more than a text-box, a button and a bunch of documents.

5 secrets about me

Peter tagged me a while ago, and now I think it´s time to open my soul:

I thought a bit about some “secrets” I have, and the interesting thing is, obviously there are two kinds of secrets: Already reflected ones and those, which came up to my mind the first time, when I started to think: What secrets do I have actually??

Here are some reflected ones:

1. I am a “Teletext-Junky”. Sometimes, the first thing I´m doing when I´m coming home is, to turn on TV and read Teletext. Maybe it´s because it reminds me a lot of the time when I got socialised in the computer society, since my first computer was an ATARI 400 (never had a Commodore, arrgh**)

2. I love plants – but I kill them. Especially pot plants I have to take care of will die very quickly. I don´t know what I´m doing wrong… please help me.

3. I´ve never seen any episode of Star Wars, but last weekend I bought part 1-3, so finally I´ll be one of yours…

… and some recently reflected secrets …

4. After 9/11 I really had enough for a while of traveling to America (at those days I´ve been in New Orleans), but now I´m really looking forward going to the U.S. again: I´ll join the Semantic Web Strategies Conference in San Jose and I also will drive around a bit in Silicon Valley…

5. I think the Semantic Web will never become true (just joking!).

And now it´s my turn to tag five people: Leo, Sebastian, Chris, Michael, and Georg.