web of data practioner’s days

I am at the Web of Data Practitioners Days (WOD-PD 2008) in Vienna.  Mixture of talks and guided hands-on sessions.  I presented first half of session on “Using the Web of Data” this morning with focus (surprise) on the end user. Learnt loads about some of the applications out there – in fact Richard Cyganiak .  Interesting talk from a guy at the BBC about the way they are using RDF to link the currently disconnected parts of their web and also archives.  Jana Herwig from Semantic Web Company has been live blogging the event.

Being here has made me think about the different elements of SemWeb technology and how they individually contribute to the ‘vision’ of Linked Data.  The aim is to be able to link different data sources together.  For this having some form of shared/public vocabulary or ‘data definitions’ is essential as is some relatively uniform way of accessing data.  However, the implementation using RDF or use of SPARQL etc. seems to be secondary and useful for some data, but not other forms of data where tabular data may be more appropriate.  Linking these different representations  together seems far more important than specific internal representations.  So wondering whether there is a route to linked data that allows a more flexible interaction with existing data and applications as well as ‘sucking’ in this data into the SemWeb.  Can the vocabularies generated for SemWeb be used as meta information for other forms of information and can  query/access protocols be designed that leverage this, but include broader range of data types.

From raw experience to personal reflection

Just a week to go for deadline for this workshop on the Designing for Reflection on Experience that Corina and I are organising at CHI. Much of the time discussions of user experience are focused on trivia and even social networking often appears to stop at superficial levels.  While throwing a virtual banana at a friend may serve to maintain relationships and is perhaps less trivial than it at first appears; still there is little support for deeper reflection on life, with the possible exception of the many topic-focused chat groups.  However, in researching social networks we have found, amongst the flotsam, clear moments of poinency and conflict, traces of major life events … even divorce by Facebook. Too much navel gazing would not be a good thing, but some attention to expressing  deeper issues to others and to ourselves seems overdue.