W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > March 2019

Re: How to fund a website for getting started with RDF applications?

From: Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2019 11:30:06 +0000
Message-Id: <3955F41B-6EB0-4886-890C-F5E3FF1306F0@w3.org>
Cc: semantic-web <semantic-web@w3.org>
To: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Some thoughts:

W3C already offers free online courses in partnership with edX, see: https://www.edx.org/school/w3cx

Such self-paced courses would complement a website with reference materials, tutorials and running examples.

People may be more willing to contribute time and expertise if they got something back in return.  People who work as consultants may benefit from the visibility they get from being a regular and valued contributor.  Companies likewise may benefit if tutorials show how to use their tools, as well as from ads placed on the site.

> On 15 Mar 2019, at 22:21, David Booth <david@dbooth.org> wrote:
> 
> How should a central website for getting started with RDF-related applications be funded and administered?
> 
> BACKGROUND:
> Many major development technologies have a central website that gives newcomers everything they need to get started with that technology: tutorials, downloads, etc.   RDF does not.  Tools and learning resources are scattered, and the landscape is littered with abandonware. Newcomers have a difficult time figuring out what to use and how to start.  This problem was discussed both at the W3C Graph Data workshop in Berlin last week, and at the US Semantic Technology Symposium this week at Duke University.  See slides 68-74:
> https://tinyurl.com/EasierDuke
> 
> RDF needs a central website for newcomers.   But how should it be funded and administered?  My thoughts so far:
> 
> - Community engagement is essential, but a wiki-like model that is entirely community driven would not work.   Multiple attempts along those lines have already been made, and they have become abandonware after their main contributors moved on to other activities.
> 
> - Curation is essential.  The site should not simply hold a long list of potential tools.  It needs to guide users more selectively through the jungle, by recommending specific sets of tools that are most likely to make the user successful.  Ideally the site should also point out alternative tools.
> 
> - Tool selection is a judgement call, and different people will not all make the same choices for a given use case.  Nonetheless, such judgement calls are extremely helpful to newcomers.  Therefore, we need to figure out the right community-driven mechanisms for informing or making these judgement calls.  (As an example, judgement calls like this are made routinely for every release of Red Hat or Ubuntu when those organizations decide which packages to include.  What process do they use?)
> 
> - Curation adds crucial value, but it also costs real money (or time).  Web hosting costs are trivial in comparison.  How should the site be funded?   As a non-profit, from contributions?   Vendors and big RDF users might be convinced to donate.  What should they get in return? Exposure?   Some advertising?
> 
> - If ads are included, they must be relevant, unobtrusive and have no animation or sound.
> 
> - Diversity of use cases.  Because of the wide variety of RDF use cases, it would be best to provide different tracks for different kinds of use cases, such as:
> 
>   - Content organization by metadata (for libraries, etc.)
> 
>   - Data integration (multiple data sources & data models)
> 
>   - OWL reasoning (e.g., with OBO Foundry ontologies)
> 
> - How to balance free and open source with commercial interests?  The main focus should be on free and open source software: a newcomer should be quickly successful using only free and open source software.  But pointers to commercial tools and services should be considered also, both to help users find them, and to have vendor support of the site. However, the commercial aspect must be managed and balanced properly, to prevent the site from smelling like yet another marketing ploy.
> 
> I am interested to hear other thoughts or ideas.   Also, please let me know (privately or publicly) if you are keen on helping to figure this out and get this going.
> 
> Thanks!
> David Booth
> 

Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org> http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett
W3C Data Activity Lead & W3C champion for the Web of things 
Received on Saturday, 16 March 2019 11:30:11 UTC

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