RE: call to arms

Very little can be achieved without technical knowledge and integration of multiple tools, because the Semantic Web is infrastructure, not an end-user application. Even advanced technical tools such as TopBraid, which integrates a range of tools, can't be used by end-users without some learning pain. And of course, it costs money.

Melvin gave a very low-cost way to integrate, but low-cost does not imply low-knowledge. is fairly low cost, but it's not everything to everybody.

If you think of the Semantic Web/Linked Data as providing infrastructure, then you understand that potentially untold numbers of applications can utilize it. Decision support, social networking, data integration, smart grid, information/sensor fusion, situational awareness, mobile context determination/action, intelligent tutoring/education, information retrieval, etc. Where to stop?  Look at Siri: it's not an arbitrary application, but a specific one. Look at semantic desktops and semantic wikis, semantic search. These are all different applications.  Do you want a Web DBMS?

If you want to bundle together a set of integrated infrastructure services, and just call out to it from your application, think of the difficulty in just calling out to a database. You need a DBMS which bundles everything together, an application (code/services + GUI) based on your own requirements, someone to construct the schema and populate/maintain the database, supporting code+services that surround the database and provides you with stuff neither the DBMS nor the application provides.

The pre-Semantic Web, i.e., the WWW, bundled together a lot of services and brought out 1) a common GUI called the browser, and 2) a common server (more or less) that the browser talked to and powered. There are some SW browsers, but typically that is not what folks want, or at least not only what they want.

I understand Danny's concern: let's get on with it, but with some understanding.


From: [] On Behalf Of Emmanuelle Gutiérrez y Restrepo
Sent: Monday, March 29, 2010 6:32 PM
To:; 'Melvin Carvalho'
Cc: 'Danny Ayers'; 'Semantic Web'
Subject: RE: call to arms

I agree with what was said by Paola. I think for the semantic web can move forward and that people actually take advantage of its benefits, it is necessary to facilitate its implementation.
It needs to be transparant for the user. The user does not have to understand what it is of RDF triples, ontology, and so on. Users see clearly the advantages and use it when the interfaces are simple and the results are practical.

All that Melvin has made it very interesting, but what can be achieved without any technical knowledge?

Best regards,

Emmanuelle Gutiérrez y Restrepo
Directora de la Fundación Sidar
Coordinadora del Seminario SIDAR
email: /

De: [] En nombre de Paola Di Maio
Enviado el: martes, 30 de marzo de 2010 0:17
Para: Melvin Carvalho
CC: Danny Ayers; Semantic Web
Asunto: Re: call to arms


you provide a nice list, but I have the impression most people find it ..... not fun?

I think you can achieve most of what you say below with less complexity using more intuitive systems (say open ID)

if there were  intefaces to wrap around the components without me having to handle the complexity, and
provide what you say below as a web service, I ll be the first to have a go

Do not expect non geeks, non experts, to actually work tru the complexity below to achive what is
from the 'operational logic' a very marginal utility that can be achieved using other means with less effort

As I emailed Danny and Sandro offlist, user centric design starts developing a system from the users viewpoint
(the interfaces).

from where I stand, the main thing the SW needs is interfaces that simplyfy/enable/support/facilitate the navigation thru the sw functions
(for example a comprehensive dumbproof website with an interface that guides me thru all the things I can do with the zillion triples already in the wild)
try this, try that, enter some data here to transform it into RDF, then enter some data here to see the relation of this object with another object etc)

task model orientation kind of thing

give me an interface that does all that for me I ll test drive it any day


On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 9:58 PM, Melvin Carvalho <<>> wrote:

2010/3/29 Danny Ayers <<>>
Good news Melvin. Now how do I get something like you've got?

Work out what you do, then build it piece by piece.  I think when more people start using sparql update we'll have a lot more interesting situations on our hands, so sparql 1.1 is going to be great in that respect.

Some Components I Use (probably in order of usefulness):

Desktop -- I use Ubuntu with all the excellent command line tooling
SPARQL Update / Datawiki -- I use
Certificates -- Probably right now the best place is xwiki
FOAF+SSL Login -- I use henry's delegated server to become a login<SITE_URI>
WebDAV -- I use a the PEAR server

I'm generally inspired by the discussions on the foaf-protocols list, which is where I've shared most of the things I've looked at ( ).  I tend to share my code on github etc. some is still quite basic and in progress, but it tends to get cleaned up according to interest.

On 29 March 2010 23:38, Melvin Carvalho <<>> wrote:
> 2010/3/29 Danny Ayers <<>>
>> Right now, despite the promise, things seem mired in the mud. People
>> aren't seeing the things that the Web of Data has proposed.
>> How do we get over this?
>> Face to face maybe - the bits the interwebs can't provide.
>> I suggest the leading lights of this sturm sit down in a room
>> somewhere in northern Europe, and hammer the damn thing down. It is so
>> stupid for it to take so long.
>> The Internet, and the Web is excellent at providing miraculous stuff,
>> but the humans that tie the things together seem to be disappearing
>> into different worlds.
>> The Semantic Web should be useful by now, by anyone's predictions.
> The Semantic Web IS useful, at least I find it so.
> For years and years I looked for a way to login to a website without me
> having to run a server or have lots of passwords, my search lead me to
> FOAF+SSL, I now run half a dozen little websites, each part of my linked
> data footprint, and use my certificate to login.  I can also log in to any
> openid site with my own FOAF certificate.  Before apple broke it, I was able
> to log into my sites using an ipod touch with one press, which I dont think
> anyone has done before.
> For a long time I wanted to create a task list and notifications system.  I
> now use sparql update to upload my tasks to my own personal data wiki (I
> sometimes use webdav), use roqet and sparql to get some values back, process
> them a bit (one day I'll learn RIF or N3 rules), and then it hooks into my
> kalarm clock and notifies me when I have to do stuff.
> My tasks are stored in my personal 'nano' blog which scores me an integer
> between 0-255 for the various things I do during the day.  I can track how
> productive I've been on a given day, week or month, and compare that to my
> historical and moving averages for that day, or in other contexts.  I can
> update my nanoblog with the press of a key, or, just for fun I made a little
> device I can hang round my neck, when I press a button, it sends a keystroke
> to my machine, and relays that off to the cloud.
> I run a small open source project, and wanted to reward people with some
> karma every time I fixed a bug.  I can do that by hooking my ticket system
> into another site which stores karma for people for the things they've done
> and it's marked up in RDFa.  Indeed they can transfer that karma to someone
> else, if that other person has contributed, and use FOAF+SSL.  I can get
> notified when someone has fixed a bug in my project, or made an improvement
> to the wiki.  In effect my project has done a virtual IPO and is issuing
> it's own virtual currency, karma.  One day it might offer to buy the karma
> back.
> One other thing I do is that I can aggregate all the accounts in my FOAF and
> my blog, and can see all the activities that they have done recently,
> delicious bookmarks, twitter, flickr etc.  I can jump to a someone in my
> foaf:knows list and see what they've done.  With smob I host my own
> microblog on my homepage, and my posts get relayed out to my followers,
> twitter, and sindice.
> I haven't even mentioned linked data yet.  With linked geo data I can look
> at all the amenites on my street, in my town, and link them to other
> resources.  It wont be long before my friends with smartphones will be able
> to check in to places, and I'll be able to meet them for a coffee.
> I've only been really following the Semantic Web closely for about 2 years,
> and most of that time has been learning, but if there's one thing I would
> describe it as, it would be USEFUL.  Some of this stuff can only really be
> done on the semantic web.  I cant describe to you how happy this makes me.
> And there's so much more to come, it's only going to get better and better.
> I build this stuff primarily for myself to use, but it's usable by anyone.
> Once other people start using global data, using authorization, making
> things read write, and linking it together, the usefulness will expand
> exponentially.
> I'm LOVING the Semantic Web.  We have this incredible playground, this
> universe, and it's all ours!   They say that all good innovation comes from
> scratching an itch.  What's your itch?  Why not use the web of data to give
> it a scratch?  And maybe we can all become a bit richer from it ... :)
>> something better change
>> (I'm a scaredy pacifist, so don't take that to heart)
>> --


Paola Di Maio
"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
Albert Einstein

Received on Monday, 29 March 2010 23:42:15 UTC