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Notes from Tuesday morning Semantic Technology Conference

Posted by haroldcarr on June 16, 2009 at 2:15 PM PDT

Here are my notes from Tuesday morning at

Tuesday, 6/16/2009
Opening Keynote Session 8:30AM - 10:00AM

The Big Picture - How Semantic Technologies Introduce a New Paradigm for Interaction
Tague, Thomas, Thomson Reuters OpenCalais Initiative
Business / Non-Technical
Foundational Topics

How did we get here (e.g., Web 2.0)?
- Web 1.0 - the last web we agree on (destinations)
- Web 2.0 - social; user generated content; atomize assests and distribute

Where are we today?
- Content Rich
- Information Poor
- Experience Poor

Semantic Technology
- 5 years ago: invention; from basic conceptual models to standards
- today: drive value and make money on top


Input to him in 6 buckets
- Tools
- Social
- Advertising
- Search
- Publishing
- Interface

Consultant's Refuge
- The 2x2 grid
  Y: Distinctive User-Derived Value
  X: Marketplace Size
  B | A
  - + -
  D | C
  E.G.: A:Medicine, B:Accordians, C:Soap
  A + B: Various Kinds of Good
  D: Don't go here
  C: Brand Domain (Oil of Olay Soap)

- Semantic data management
- Semantic data generation
- Databases
- Integration and Workflow

- Semantics-powered link sharing
- Network mining
- News sharing
- Tweet mining

- Semantic ad placement
- Contextual ad placement
- Semantically-driving landing pages
- Mashup Ads

Semantic Search
- General "Semantic Search" viz Domain specific semantically enhanced search

- A: Content Producers - back office to user experience
- B: Editorial + Aggregation Publishing Models
- D: Robotic publishing - aggregation only

- Pay attention: gaming industry: 57+ billion
- Videogames viz today's state of the web
  Great story line; highly interactive; immediate response
  No interruptions; Graphically engaging; Seamless; Fun
- Who is trying to change user experience?
  Zemanta; Apture; feedly;
- If you want to deliver compelling user experience go to where people are:
  browsers, mobile devices
- Why is Google building a browser : it's the integration point

- Web 1.0 : web of destination
- Web 2.0 : fragmentation
- Web 3.0 : unification : "The Web of Me"

Suggestions for success
- Put your indea in the 2x2.  Be honest.  Stay out of deadzone.
- Decide if you care about semantics or about user value.
  If it's semantics - be a tool vendor.
- Don't fund/spend money on semantic infrastructure beyond what is necessary.
  The basic building blocks are available.
- Think hard about user experience.  Make it amazing.

The Game Changer: Siri, a Virtual Personal Assistant
Gruber, Tom, CTO and cofounder: Siri
Business / Non-Technical
Semantic Applications

Bringing Intelligence to the Interface
- Touch screens and cinematic animation
- Global network for info and collaboration
- Awareness of temporal and social context
- Continuous Speech in and out
- Conversational Inteface : assistant talks back
- Delegation of tasks to the assistant
- Assistant use of personal data (trust)

How Close are we?

You can't talkt to a search engine this way.
"The future of search is a conversation with someone you trust" - John Battele

What is needed to put it all together?
location awareness; conversation interface; speech to text;
semantic data; text to intent; task awareness; dialog flow; services apis;
task and domain models; access to personal info

Conference Sessions 11:45AM - 12:45PM

BKN: Building Communities through Knowledge, and Knowledge Through Communities
Bergman, Michael K., Structured Dynamics
Business / Non-Technical
Collaboration and Social Networks

Funded by NSF

Overview of BKN
- Development tools and services for virtual organizations (VO)
- Select, Filter and enhance bibliographic data for each VO
- Bib collections
- AUthoring tols

- VO nodes - collaboration portals
- Gateways - connections to external content
- Hubs - aggregate suppliers of useful datasets
- Individual - dataset contributers and clients

- Various existing
- RDF - canonical internal data model

VO nodes
- structWSF - web services frameworks
- CMS: drupal
- RDF triplestore : Virtuoso
- Full-text, faceted search: Solr

- toolset for structured data (semantic Web) conversion, use and exposure 
- Data-drivenvia ontologies; easily scoped, tailored 
- Na    


Thank you, Harold! I got on the 'waiting list' of and and will check out the rest. Enjoy the rest of the conference!

That last should be: is quite impressive. Plus the fact that both Google and Yahoo recognize RDFa and microformats in web pages they crawl. They convert all that data to RDF and then emit it as RDFa in their search results, enabling others to use that data. Yahoo also has "boss" which gives access to all metadata they have crawl in RDF form. One of the most impressive things I have seen is (in German) shown to me by a fellow attendee. It is etextbook infrastructure with incredible cross linking. In Britian all government agencies put RDFa in their job postings, enabling one to consolidate info from various agencies without the need to talk directly to their databases. Check out

Harold, thank you for posting your valuable notes. It is a good snapshot of where the SW 'industry' is at this point. I see increased activity, spread and depth in discussions from a year ago. However, it is still "Waiting for Godot" ... Have you come across any killer SW application or product?