Close, but a Cigar Nevertheless

Posted by Knud on May 4th, 2010

I just came back from this year’s Web Science Confernce in Raleigh, NC. The idea of the conference – as of Web Science in general – is to give a holistic, multi-disciplinary view on the Web, and while I’m still not sure if and exactly how this will work like in the end (there was a heated discussion between social and computer scientists in the closing panel), I found the event very interesting and a lot of fun. Of course, the best surprise came right at the end, when our paper on Linked Data Usage (I had reported on early stages of this quite a while ago on this blog) was shortlisted as one of three papers for the best paper award! In the end we didn’t win (the prize went to the paper by Metaxas and Mustafaraj: From Obscurity to Prominence in Minutes: Political Speech and Real-Time Search), but just to get the nomination was pretty awesome. I really didn’t expect this, considering that this paper had been in the pipeline for more that a year now, but never quite made it for any submission deadline, and was therefore delayed time and time again. This is great encouragement for continuing our work in this area!

The Value of Advertising

Posted by admin on November 1st, 2008

So, ISWC2008 is over and I’m back in Galway. What did I learn this year?

  • There are more and more Semantic Web applications out there, and they are getting slicker and more user-friendly every year. The demo and poster session and the Semantic Web challenges clearly showed that. Some highlights were probably paggr (semantic widgets) by Benjamin Nowack and several different apps that make use of mobile technologies (on the iPhone, no less). Incidentally, those two also won the first and second prize in the challenge (Benjamin won this for the second time already, after having won with CONFOTO (seems to be offline at the moment) at ISWC2005.
  • Interestingly for me, a lot of people are working on solutions to make SPARQL-querying more accessible to end users. There is our own work on a SPARQL builder component for Konduit, there is the web-based graphical interface NITELIGHT, and some cool SPARQL extensions by Benjamin Nowack (again!). While those were all presented during the poster session, I also talked to some other people in the coffee breaks who told me about their work in this area – this clearly seems to be an area where a lot of developments and improvements are going to surface soon!
  • OpenCyc – this is of course not really a new development, but after having attended the tutorial of using OpenCyc for the Semantic Web, I’m starting to think that their ontology and knowledge base are, at the very least, a very interesting point of reference for linked open data. Those guys have worked on their ontologies for a long time, and a lot of reasoning technology is already in place. Therefore, if we hook up our linked data to (Open)Cyc terms, the hope is that we can finally have the inferencing magic that people are dreaming of for the Web.
  • And finally, to come to the title of this post. I learned the hard way this year that one cannot put enough effort into advertising one’s work and also oneself. I think Richard and I did a pretty good job with the conference metadata this year, and set up a very nice site with a lot of interesting functionality for developers and conference attendees. Unfortunately, we didn’t spend an equal amount of work on making the people at the conference aware of that, with the result that e.g. way too few knew that there was an option to discuss papers online and make those discussion become part of the metadata about the paper. Also, to my surprise, some people even didn’t seem to know that I had been acting as metadata co-chair at all. Note to self: be more proactive next year.