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Re: Semantic Web technologies and libraries

From: Antoine Isaac <aisaac@few.vu.nl>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2010 09:41:02 +0200
Message-ID: <4C6A3D0E.7060104@few.vu.nl>
To: Gautier Poupeau <gautier.poupeau@gmail.com>
CC: public-lld@w3.org
Dear Gautier,


You make some valid points in that mail. I'd like to react on this:

> The problem isn't the use and the users, but the data, think "data
> first", if you think "use first", you lock up the data.


It puzzled me a bit, since *you* are putting some kind of use in front of your mail. And rightfully so, I think. Potential uses are what could drive institution and people to release data, it thus make sense to have some idea of what they are, and what are the benefits.

In some weeks we'll release some call for use cases--stay tuned. Would you be willing to describe in more detail your meshup at [1]? Of course that could (should?) include the requirements which you think should be met to allow such applications to emerge!

Cheers,

Antoine


> I read the thread about FRBR and FRSAR on the other discussion list and
> I'm a little surprised by the exchanges between Karen Coyle, Jeff Young
> and Herbert van de Sompel. I'm not a librarian (and more a semWeb
> engineer), I work with them, that's why I may not understand all issues.
> The goal of semantic Web technologies and, in particular, RDF is to
> offer an interoperability framework to exchange and process data with
> machines in a network world. Linked Data is the way to use semantic web
> technologies on the Web with HTTP architecture. When I read the
> different e-mails, it seems to me it's not clear what semantic Web
> technologies and, in particular, RDF are.
>
> Why semantic Web technologies ?
> I think the key is data interoperability. Actually, the level of
> interoperability for bibliographic data in libraries is the record. But,
> in the web environment at Web 2.0 and mashup time, this level isn't
> enough any more, we need to link data and it's very complicated to link
> a specific data in the record. Imagine this use case [1] : I would like
> to make a mashup between LOC data, Freebase data and RDF book mashup
> data. If LOC doesn't use web technologies, I can't make it. If LOC uses
> a specific standard and protocol (It's actually the case), I don't want
> to use them, I prefer to use the uggly amazon data because there is an
> ecosystem around the Amazon Web services. So to answer to Karen Coyle,
> Semantic Web technologies allow to include library data in a networked
> and interoperable environment : the Web and to take advantage of a
> tool/developper/standard ecosystem.
>
> RDF is a standard model to express data thanks to web architecture (URI,
> hyperlink, HTTP) and first-order logic principles. So semantic Web
> technologies free the data from the record. Maybe it's just a
> philosophical aspect for you, but that changes everything to make
> interfaces for users. The problem isn't the use and the users, but the
> data, think "data first", if you think "use first", you lock up the
> data. The developper/functionnal expert/designer will have more freedom
> to design interfaces or find new uses of the data if they can
> appropriate the data (with a common standard and a comprehensible
> modelization). For example, VIAF is very interesting and the modelling
> is great, but if you don't know the authority record principles, you
> can't use it, even if this dataset could be useful to lots of projects
> outside the libraries.
>
> What are the RDF principles in two sentences ?
> In web architecture, a URI identifies a resource. A resource is
> everything we can identify : a document, a web page, a real thing... To
> explain RDF, I usually use the sign theory invented by Ferdinand de
> Saussure : a resource is a sign, the URI is the signifier (so an
> identifier AND a name) and the real thing is the signified. RDF allows
> to express assertions about a sign identified by an URI. So, a machine
> can use and process them to offer a better user experience, because I
> can, for example, aggregate data provided by different datasets without
> converting them (if they all use RDF model...). The machine dimension is
> very important to understand, that's why to have a consistent,
> comprehensible and usable ontology is so important too.
>
>  From my point of view, there are two difficulties in semantic Web
> technologies :
> - Think the data differently as before (triple and oriented graph model
> with all consequences)
> - Think the data in decentralized environment : the world wide Web. All
> data are potentially connected and we have to think how describe and
> link data to allow their reuse and to secure their consistency.
>
> I don't know if this e-mail can help you, but, I needed to make it,
> because in your exchange, I didn't see any more the place of semantic
> Web technologies...
>
> Best,
> Gautier Poupeau
>
> [1] In fact, I already code this mashup, see
> http://www.lespetitescases.net/semweblabs/linkedbookmashup/ (in french,
> sorry ;-) )
>
> --
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Gautier Poupeau
> Antidot     |    GSM: +33 (0)6 45 49 59 77
> F-75 Paris       |   mailto: gautier.poupeau@gmail.com
> <mailto:gautier.poupeau@gmail.com>
> Blog : Les petites cases <http://www.lespetitescases.net> | Twitter :
> @lespetitescases
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
Received on Tuesday, 17 August 2010 08:11:47 UTC

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