Category Archives: Essays

Longer writings.

Linked Literature, Linked TV – Everything Looks like a Graph

Ben Fry in ‘Visualizing Data‘: Graphs can be a powerful way to represent relationships between data, but they are also a very abstract concept, which means that they run the danger of meaning something only to the creator of the graph. Often, simply showing the structure of the data says very little about what it actually [...]

A Penny for your thoughts: New Year wishes from mechanical turkers

I wanted to learn more about Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service (wikipedia), and perhaps also figure out how I feel about it. Named after a historical faked chess-playing machine, it uses the Web to allow people around the world to work on short low-pay ‘micro-tasks’. It’s a disturbing capitalist fantasy come true, echoing Frederick Taylor’s ‘Scientific [...]

Lonclass and RDF

Lonclass is one of the BBC’s in-house classification systems – the “London classification”. I’ve had the privilege of investigating lonclass within the NoTube project. It’s not currently public, but much of what I say here is also applicable to the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) system upon which it was based. UDC is also not fully [...]

Easier in RDFa: multiple types and the influence of syntax on semantics

RDF is defined as an abstract data model, plus a collection of practical notations for exchanging RDF descriptions (eg. RDF/XML, RDFa, Turtle/N3). In theory, your data modelling activities are conducted in splendid isolation from the sleazy details of each syntax. RDF vocabularies define classes of thing, and various types of property/relationship that link those things. [...]

Linked TV (part 1): Why APIs and identifiers matter

In the NoTube project, we are exploring the use of Semantic Web technology in Television and Web-TV scenarios. By making use of richer and linked descriptions of content and users, we hope to help users better find (and annotate, tag, cross-link etc.) content that is interesting to them. The growing amount of linked RDF data [...]

Family trees, Gedcom::FOAF in CPAN, and provenance

Every wondered who the mother(s) of Adam and Eve’s grand-children were? Me too. But don’t expect SPARQL or the Semantic Web to answer that one! Meanwhile, … You might nevetheless care to try the Gedcom::FOAF CPAN module from Brian Cassidy. It can read Gedcom, a popular ‘family history’ file format, and turn it into RDF [...]