Interesting semantic web stuff

It’s starting to feel like the world has suddenly woken up to the whole Linked Data thing — and that’s clearly a very, very good thing. Not only are Google (and Yahoo!) now using RDFa but a whole bunch of other things are going on, all rather exciting, below is a round up of some of the best. But if you don’t know what I’m talking about you might like to start off with TimBL’s talk at TED.

"Semantic Web Rubik's Cube" by dullhunk. Some rights reserved.
"Semantic Web Rubik's Cube" by dullhunk. Some rights reserved.

TimBL is working with the UK Cabinet Office (as an advisor) to make our information more open and accessible on the web [cabinetoffice.gov.uk]
The blog states that he’s working on:

  • overseeing the creation of a single online point of access and work with departments to make this part of their routine operations.
  • helping to select and implement common standards for the release of public data
  • developing Crown Copyright and ‘Crown Commons’ licenses and extending these to the wider public sector
  • driving the use of the internet to improve consultation processes.
  • working with the Government to engage with the leading experts internationally working on public data and standards

The Guardian has an article on the appointment.

Closer to home there have been a few interesting developments

Media Meets Semantic Web – How the BBC Uses DBpedia and Linked Data to Make Connections [pdf]
Our paper at this years European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC2009) looking at how the BBC has adopted semantic web technologies, including DBpedia, to help provide a better, more coherent user experience. For which we won best paper of the in-use track – congratulations to Silver and Georgie.

The BBC has announced a couple SPARQL endpoints, hosted by talis and openlink
Both platforms allow you to search and query the BBC data in a number of different ways, including SPARQL — the standard query language for semantic web data. If you’re not familiar with SPARQL, the Talis folk have published a tutorial that uses some NASA data.

A social semantic BBC?
Nice presentation from Simon and Ben on how social discovery of content could work… “show me the radio programmes my friends have listen to, show me the stuff my friends like that I’ve not seen” all built on people’s existing social graph. People meet content via activity.

PriceWaterhouseCooper’s spring technology forecast focuses on Linked Data [pwc.com]
“Linked Data is all about supply and demand. On the demand side, you gain access to the comprehensive data you need to make decisions. On the supply side, you share more of your internal data with partners, suppliers, and—yes—even the public in ways they can take the best advantage of. The Linked Data approach is about confronting your data silos and turning your information management efforts in a different direction for the sake of scalability. It is a component of the information mediation layer enterprises must create to bridge the gap between strategy and operations… The term “Semantic Web” says more about how the technology works than what it is. The goal is a data Web, a Web where not only documents but also individual data elements are linked.”

Including an interview with me!

You should also check out…

sameas.org a service to help link up equivalent URIs
It helps you to find co-references between different data sets. Interestingly it’s also licenced under CC0 which means all copyright and related or neighboring rights are waived.

Interesting stuff from around the web 2009-03-20

Ben Seagal, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Calliau with the WWW proposal and first webserver at the WWW@20 celebrations, CERN
Ben Seagal, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Calliau with TimBL's original proposal and first webserver at the WWW@20 celebrations, CERN

Semantic web news

Linked Data? Web of Data? Semantic Web? WTF? [Tom Heath]
“Think about HTML documents; when people started weaving these together with hyperlinks we got a Web of documents. Now think about data. When people started weaving individual bits of data together with RDF triples (that expressed the relationship between these bits of data) we saw the emergence of a Web of data. Linked Data is no more complex than this – connecting related data across the Web using URIs, HTTP and RDF.”

The Programmes Ontology [BBC]
Yves has updated the programmes ontology to handle “temporal annotations” tracklistings and segments and outlets etc.

Twitter news

The Twitter Global Mind [Rocketboom]
Don’t understand what all the fuss about Twitter? Watch this. Yes it’s about social networking and communication but it’s also about realtime search.

Twitter to begin charging brands for commercial use [Brand Republic News]
Co-founder Biz Stone told Marketing: ‘We are noticing more companies using Twitter and individuals following them. We can identify ways to make this experience even more valuable and charge for commercial accounts.’ He would not be drawn on the level of charges.

Some interesting visualisations

Depressing Project of the Day: Stock Market, Set to Music with Microsoft Songsmith [Create Digital Music]
Thanks to Yves. The failing economy set to music.

Periodic Table of Typefaces on the Behance Network [behance.net]
“The Periodic Table of Typefaces is obviously in the style of all the thousands of over-sized Periodic Table of Elements posters hanging in schools and homes around the world. This particular table lists 100 of the most popular, influential and notorious typefaces today. As with traditional periodic tables, this table presents the subject matter grouped categorically. The Table of Typefaces groups by families and classes of typefaces: san-serif, serif, script, blackletter, glyphic, display, grotesque, realist, didone, garalde, geometric, humanist, slab-serif and mixed.”

The open web

What is the Open Platform? [guardian.co.uk]
“The Open Platform is the suite of services that make it possible for guardian.co.uk to build applications with the Guardian…” very nice, I hope others follow. I also wish the Beeb recognized it’s open projects (recognized internally that is).

RadioAunty feature update – twitter, scheduling and much more [whomwah]
RadioAunty is Mac app that allows you to listen to live and catchup BBC Radio. It’s a lovely app and is built on an open BBC platform :)

Monty Python DVD sales soar thanks to YouTube clips [guardian.co.uk]
“Within days of the launch of the official Monty Python YouTube channel, sales of the DVD box set had gone up by 16,000% on Amazon”

Designing for your least able user [BBC Radio Labs]
Michael’s mighty post on SEO, accessibility and the joy of links. Read it.

Interesting stuff from around the web 2009-01-25

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I'm going to be a daddy -- w00t!

Some nice publicity for the BBC music site

BBC’s Semantic Music Project [ReadWriteWeb]
“As more projects like this take advantage of the publicly available metadata available, the beginnings of a real semantic web can finally take root.” What a nice thing to say.

BBC Artists: Getting down with semantic Web [CNET UK]
BBC’s new music site gets a great write up on cnet. But why is it that there appears to be an inverse relationship between distance from the team and an understand of the project’s importance and benefit?

More good news…

Twitter can has OAuth? [factoryjoe.com]
Twitter API lead Alex Payne announced today that Twitter is now accepting applications to its OAuth private beta, making good on the promises he made on the Twitter API mailing list and had repeated on the January 8 Citizen Garden podcast.

Obama’s agenda for technology [whitehouse.gov]
“Protect the Openness of the Internet: Support the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet.” I find the face that this is his first agenda point in “ensuring the full and free exchange if ideas through an open Internet and Diverse Media Outlets” surprising (for a politician) but truly wonderful.

Cool…

Harder, better, faster, stronger [digital urban]
“David Hubert wanted to make a video of London but I didn’t have a camcorder, so he took pictures instead. In fact he took more then 3000 pictures and put them all together into a video lasting less then 2 minutes with excellent result”

Interesting stuff from around the web 2008-11-02

Nabaztag, a screenless, WiFi-enabled bunny, born again with voice-recognition and RFID-awareness in 2007. Interfacing the node between virtual data and the sensory world, Nabaztag fetches information from the Internet, flashes lights on its nose and tummy, rotates its ears, sniffs RFID chips, speaks 36 languages and understands five.
Nabaztag, a screenless, WiFi-enabled bunny, born again with voice-recognition and RFID-awareness in 2007. Interfacing the node between virtual data and the sensory world, Nabaztag fetches information from the Internet, flashes lights on its nose and tummy, rotates its ears, sniffs RFID chips, speaks 36 languages and understands five.

The Internet of things

Internetting every thing, everywhere, all the time [CNN.com]
It’s called “The Internet of Things” — at least for now. It refers to an imminent world where physical objects and beings (like the Nabaztag above), as well as virtual data and environments, all live and interact with each other in the same space and time. In short, everything is interconnected. [via plasticbagUK]

Some recent developments with the the BBC’s new artist pages [bbc.co.uk/music/artists]

Automatically linking artists and news on the BBC Music Beta [BBC – Radio Labs]
On many of the news stories published on BBC News journalists add related internet links. If a story covers a music artist, it might link out to their home page, their MySpace site or even a Wikipedia article. In MusicBrainz, each artist can have several URLs associated to them. By simply cross-referencing each link on a news story with the URLs in MusicBrainz, when we find a match we can confidently say that the news story relates to the artist associated with that URL.

BBC artist page also available as RDF [bbc.co.uk/music]
Either add .rdf to the URL but also with added conneg.

More good news from the open web

Freebase RDF service
This service generates views of Freebase Topics following the principles of Linked Data. You can obtain an RDF representation of a Topic by sending a simple GET request to http://rdf.freebase.com/ns/thetopicid, where the “thetopicid” is a Freebase identifier with the slashes replaced by dots. For instance to see “/en/blade_runner” represented in RDF request http://rdf.freebase.com/ns/en.blade_runner

Google is now an OpenID provider [Google Code Blog]
…but surprise, surprise, surprise they aren’t going to be a Relying Party. You can have too much of a good thing – I now have more OpenID URLs that email addresses.

…and Windows Live ID
At least in this case I don’t have an account so my OpenID count stays in check, for now.

But come on this is just silly – if you support OpenID but not as a Relying Party it’s just marketing.

OpenID usability is not an oxymoron [factoryjoe.com]
Chris Messina considers the four areas he believes OpenID usability needs to be improved: ease of use for developers and end users, branding and marketing, consistency and leadership.

Why the open strategy is a good idea [Matt McAlister]
Nice write up of why an open strategy is good – uses our recent work on artist pages as a case study.

Oh dear…

Greedy BBC Blocks External Links [blogstorm.co.uk]
“In an outrageous act of selfishness and greed the BBC has decided to stop giving real links to the websites featured in the “Related Internet Links” section on the right hand side of each news story.”

Martin Belam suggests an alternative :

“The recent that re-direct is there is entirely about measuring traffic in order to produce charts to show to the top management, and nothing about the wider web eco-system. You are what you measure – the BBC Trust isn’t interested in the BBC passing on PageRank, just in passing on traffic.”

Interesting stuff for 2008-08-02

'Ice Queen' the first time scientists have been able to monitor Martian ice at a place where temperatures are cold enough that the ice doesn't immediately sublimate, or vaporize, away.

MarsPhoenix reports it finds, collects and measures a sample of water on Mars [twitter]
“An ice-containing sample made it into the TEGA oven. I can now say I’m the first mission to Mars to touch and then *taste* the water. FTW!”

Has A Surfer/Snowboarder Who Lives In A Van Rewritten Physics? Maybe [Outside Online]
To be honest I have no idea whether there’s anything in this but I love the idea and I think it’s fantastic that this sort of work can be carried out on the slopes rather than the lab.

Matthew’s announcement about the new artist pages
Gives a good editorial perspective and a bit of light relief from all the tech :)

More info on our work on the recent BBC music site [BBC Radio Labs Blog]
More info on the API.

BBC Music/MusicBrainz bookmarklet [metade.org]
Makes navigating the new BBC artist pages easier – a bookmarklet that flips between MusicBrainz and bbc/music.