Linked Data – The Next 5 Years: From Hype to Action

Linked Data and the Semantic Web have been around for quite a while and have been hyped again and again. In the meantime, a large number of enterprises and even whole industries have adopted semantic web technologies for several purposes (for example, visit Allotrope Foundation). “Gartner’s Hype Cycle 2015 for Advanced Analytics and Data Science” has put Linked Data into the trough of disillusionment, which is another clear indicator to be ready for takeoff.

Gartner 2015 Hype Cycle for Advanced Analytics and Data Science.png

The pace of semantic web technology adoption may vary from industry to industry, but in average it has increased even more than expected. Just in 2012, Gartner has predicted that the Semantic Web won’t reach the plateau of productivity within the next 10 years, only three years later it seems like it will be there in 5 to 10 years.

Gartner 2012 Hype Cycle for Big Data.png

Linked Data Hype or not, it has entered the adoption phase. In the next 5 years we finally can see to which degree enterprises will use semantic web technologies for data analytics, data integration, and knowledge discovery.

What are the main obstacles that are frequently mentioned by potential users? Which best practices for implementing linked data on a larger scale have already been developed? What are the ‘low-hanging fruits’, and how could a concrete action plan look like? Will the often predicted interlinking of an open semantic web and corporate semantic webs take place? Which other technology (of the above mentioned hype cycles) might play a crucial role as an enabler for enterprise linked data? Which other (mega-)trends will influence the pace of linked data adoption, and which related organisational challenges should be expected?

Please visit Andreas Blumauer’s talk ‘Linked Data – The Next 5 Years: From Hype to Action’ at SEMANTiCS 2016 in Leipzig to get some valuable impulses for your Linked Data project!

 

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Linked Data for the Masses

Leipziger Semantic Web Days 2011 take place today and tomorrow, and I like this year´s motto: “Linked Data for the Masses”. I think it´s time to dispel the myth that the “semantic web will never become reality”.

Thousands of people including myself have been working on the development of the semantic web in recent years, and just to give a short example of applications and companies which use this mature technology stack in 2011 for various purposes I have prepared a keynote talk I will give tomorrow in Leipzig:

Another way how to make the power of linked data comprehensible to newcomers are short screencasts, take a look at the latest video of the PoolParty team about semantic search:

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 google.com (on some local versions like google.at 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.