Remembering Aaron Swartz

“One of the things the Web teaches us is that everything is connected (hyperlinks) and we all should work together (standards). Too often school teaches us that everything is separate (many different ‘subjects’) and that we should all work alone.” —Aaron Swartz, April 2001. So Aaron is gone. We were friends a decade ago, and […]

Schema.org and One Hundred Years of Search

A talk from London SemWeb meetup hosted by the BBC Academy in London, Mar 30 2012…. Slides and video are already in the Web, but I wanted to post this as an excuse to plug the new Web History Community Group that Max and I have just started at W3C. The talk was part of […]

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 […]

‘Republic of Letters’ in R / Custom Widgets for Second Screen TV navigation trails

As ever, I write one post that perhaps should’ve been two. This is about the use and linking of datasets that aid ‘second screen’ (smartphone, tablet) TV remotes, and it takes as a quick example a navigation widget and underlying dataset that show us how we might expect to navigate TV archives, in some future […]

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. […]

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 […]

How the Web works

How it works: The Web Originally uploaded by danbri Or, “but what do all those links mean?” Based on the 1994 slides by TimBL which inspired the SWAD-Europe graphics and shirt. The twist here is just an emphasis that the giant global graph is a graph of idiosyncratic claims, and only sometimes do we all […]

Graph URIs in SPARQL: Using UUIDs as named views

I’ve been using the SPARQL query language to access a very ad-hoc collection of personal and social graph data, and thanks to Bengee’s ARC system this can sit inside my otherwise ordinary WordPress installation. At the moment, everything in there is public, but lately I’ve been discussing oauth with a few folk as a way […]

Google Social Graph API, privacy and the public record

I’m digesting some of the reactions to Google’s recently announced Social Graph API. ReadWriteWeb ask whether this is a creeping privacy violation, and danah boyd has a thoughtful post raising concerns about whether the privileged tech elite have any right to experiment in this way with the online lives of those who are lack status, […]

Waving not Drowning? groups as buddylist filters

I’ve lately started writing up and prototyping around a use-case for the “Group” construct in FOAF and for medium-sized, partially private data aggregators like SparqlPress. I think we can do something interesting to deal with the social pressure and information load people are experiencing on sites like Flickr and Twitter. Often people have rather large […]

Spam poetry

This just arrived in my mailbox, sneaking past my spam filters. While it advertises the most horrible spamsite, the words are strangely hypnotic… Hei, Inncrease your S.[E].X.U.AL health! Sane, recalled me from these fantastic speculations. Miss believer, please tell me in your own words do without them. footnote: ‘a description of nova friar, sent an […]

Querying Facebook in SPARQL

A fair few people have been asking about FOAF exporters from Facebook. I’m not entirely sure what else is out there, but Matthew Rowe has just announced a Facebook FOAF generator. It doesn’t dump all 35 million records into your Web browser, thankfully. But it will export a minimal description of you and your Facebook […]