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

From: Paul Tyson <phtyson@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2019 22:46:41 -0500
Message-ID: <1552708001.1705.48.camel@sbcglobal.net>
To: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Cc: semantic-web <semantic-web@w3.org>
David, I respect, encourage, and sympathize with your efforts in this

My ideal "central website" for RDF newcomers would be something like the
xml CoverPages (http://xml.coverpages.org). Back when my main work was
document design and processing, (and way before the site acquired Oasis
sponsorship), I would daily scan through the new items to keep up with
the breadth of activity. And when I had to tackle some new problem in
XML, I would do a more focused search for relevant material. Yes, the
site grew too big and had usability problems, but if re-imagined in
linked data format it might be more friendly.

RDF and related technologies make a pretty big elephant, and everyone's
going to come to it with different needs and perceptions (just like with
XML and its related technology stack). So I don't think a single "Start
here" page for RDF will meet any one person's need.

But besides a curated, annotated bibliography (like CoverPages), you are
right that some specific hands-on instructions for beginners would be
helpful. But not like step 1, step 2, step 3, because there's no way any
single approach is going to be useful for everybody. What's needed is a
cookbook approach, or pattern collection. In the latter category,
there's already a fine resource,


On Fri, 2019-03-15 at 18:21 -0400, David Booth wrote:
> How should a central website for getting started with RDF-related 
> applications be funded and administered?
> 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
Received on Saturday, 16 March 2019 03:47:12 UTC

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