RE: call to arms - planting tomatoes

Perhaps I'm too literal, but when I think about linked data, I think about
linking existing data (rather than having it created in response to a
request, as social networking would require), and mostly about collapsing
lots of searches into one.  

So, assuming Danny's request doesn't literally mean "my" tomatoes (as in,
guess which varietal and what state they're in now), here are the searches
I'd expect to do today and the results I'd hope linked data could bring me.

1) Find a tomato grow zone map or database (see, e.g., 

2) Find my location on that map and fetch my zone number

3) Find out the names of tomatoes that grow in my zone number

4) Get basic adjectives about those varieties (e.g., sweet, thin-skinned,

5)a) Find the "planting season" for each variety for my zone number
5)b)i) Find out how long it takes for each variety to grow from seedling to
5)b)ii) Find out how long it takes for each variety to grow from seed to
seedling (this info tends to be provided in different places from #4)

6) "Rinse and repeat".  Grow zone maps have variation (by seed vendor and
gardening expert), so I'd typically look at a few and work out a blended
average sort of understanding.

7) Build a little table that puts this together (which would be so much
better than the notes I scratch on the back of an envelope while I'm

Today this would probably take me 2+ hours of searching.

I understand that there's no magic to producing this as a linked data query
(no NLP that's going to produce my query so clearly and no algorithm that's
going to implement it so perfectly), but I think building out more of these
as demonstrations lets the business and government communities see the
efficiency, effectiveness, and user wow factor.  If Burpee can help
prospective gardeners reduce the time to understanding from hours to
moments, won't they expect significantly more "conversions" from hits and
reap the "first mover advantage"?  That's what provides the incentive for
bigger players to publish more data, build more linked queries, and spend
resources on the bigger picture -- my answer for an early question in the
thread of last few days about how to get more engagement.  

Thanks, -k

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Dan Brickley
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2010 9:17 AM
To: Danny Ayers
Cc: Semantic Web
Subject: Re: call to arms

On Sun, Apr 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM, Danny Ayers <> wrote:
> On 18 April 2010 12:54, Michael Schneider <> wrote:
>> Danny Ayers wrote:
>>>when do I plant my tomatoes?
>> We are in early Spring now. Tomatoes don't grow well in this period. At
>> least not in the outside. Well, you can find them in the greenhouse, but
>> that's probably not what you are looking for. So, I'm afraid, you have to
>> patient.
> Thank you Michael, but I wish to make you redundant. This box of
> circuits in front of me should have told me that.
> Did you take into consideration that I live on this side of the
> Garfagnana valley?

When I think about linked information these days, I see three major

* information in classic document form (analog stuff made of bits;
human-oriented prose, video, imagery)
* information in source-attributed RDF claims (aka Linked Data, quads, etc)
* information in people's heads

For me, the RDFWeb/FOAF story I think has always been about the 3-way
relationship between these different equally important ways of
learning about the world. Linked people *and* linked information.

You can think of lots of aspects of SemWeb as positioned as edges of
this simple triangle where the nodes are the categories above. RDF
syntaxes, GRDDL for microformats, RDFa, Adobe XMP, ebook metadata,
Dublin Core etc are often links between classic document forms and RDF
quads. Sometimes RDF quads are more to summarise what the document
says about the world; other times they are to help find it. Similarly,
provenance, authorship and other people-describing RDF, also
people-describing non-RDF information, can all help us to find whose
*head* might have the right information. A YouTube video can capture
something of a person's subjective knowledge of the world and put it
out there in document form for others to find; tags and RDF stuff can
help others find that video and either learn directly or get in touch.
SemWeb people (all of us) can easily focus only on one of these forms
of information, at the expense not only of the other two, but their
rich interconnections. Machine-unfriendly video, images, audio or .xls
files can still be very useful, and the 'RDF as metadata about files'
use case is one we too easily neglect.

> Did you take into consideration that I live on this side of the Garfagnana

In this case I think the answer is best found in the heads of your
neighbours, rather than on the Web. How's your Italian coming along?



Received on Sunday, 18 April 2010 14:31:43 UTC