Andreas Blumauer

Insights into Nature’s Data Publishing Portal

In recent years, Nature has adopted linked data technologies on a broader scale. Andreas Blumauer was intrigued to discover more about the strategy and technologies behind. He had the opportunity to talk with Michele Pasin and Tony Hammond who are the architects of Nature’s data publishing portal.

 

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Andreas Blumauer

Some Semantic Apps for the iPhone

evriverseSome new releases around Apple´s iPhone family, like the new OS3.0 or the new 3G S have stimulated another big hype around this “little darling”. I took a look at another facet, namely: Has the Semantic Web entered the iPhone realm yet (or vice versa)? Experts have been talking about the need for semantically enhanced mobile applications for years, so let´s see, if they are in place already.

Searching for “semantic web” in the AppStore delivers six results, one of them called “SemanticWb” is obviously an interesting match. The application “extracts current life sciences and health care knowledge and place them conveniently at your fingertips on your iPhone”. The application offers search suggestions and moderated search and retrieves articles from PubMed or genetic disorders which are related to the search term. Good start, this is a neat iPhone application which should be interesting for medical doctors and related professions.

Another application on the iPhone which is related to the semantic web is the “English wordnet dictionary” based on WordNet from Princeton University.

So, not much semantic web on the iPhone so far – I thought until Evriverse was released some weeks ago. The iPhone version of evri.com offers a new way to find connections between all kind of things. Similar to OpenCalais Evri can extract people, places, organisations, products etc. from unstructured information like news or blogs. The innovation around Evriverse is the way how complex search queries around “anything” can be formulated by just touching the screen. For example, if you are looking for information about “Tim Berners-Lee” the application not only offers auto-complete but also suggests related people, organisations etc. to refine any search query. Such relations are updated constantly and are based on the semantic analysis of news and blogs.

Evriverse offers the most comfortable way to do news research on the iPhone today. It shows how semantic technologies can enhance user experience on a mobile device and it will path the way to more semantic (web) apps on the iPhone.

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Jana Herwig

Intelligent Agents and Health Care

Bo Hu, PhDMy colleague Tassilo Pellegrini recently did an interview with Bo Hu, a researcher and former fellow at the Intelligence, Agent, Multimedia Group (IAM), University of Southampton: At present, Bo is working at the SAP Research Center CEC Belfast where his research focuses on the application of Semantic Web and Web 2.0 technologies in e-learning and e-healthcare. In the interview, he talks about the potential of Semantic Web and intelligent agent technologies in medicine and life sciences, which he sees as a discipline particularly suited for semantic technologies as “many sub-domains of medicine are subject to controlled nomenclatures providing solid ground upon which semantically enriched applications can be built.” About the potential of intelligent agents:

[…] in distributed environments, it is difficult to exploit the available data from different sources, especially data that is normally projected onto the body of a patient to reach diagnostic and prognostic decisions. Many of the available data are interrelated, calling for paradigms that facilitate knowledge discovery by intelligently integrating data sources.

An agent-based framework is particularly useful in this case where individual agents are equipped with “memory” and “reasoning/thinking” capabilities to constantly acquire new knowledge and solve allocated tasks. Communication among agents, prescribed by a common vocabulary/ontology, ensures the entire community works towards a common goal.

On the other hand, frameworks with agents encapsulating special functions deliver better customised and personalised healthcare. As a result, we will be witnessing more patient power and better adherence to treatment regimens.

Read the whole interview on the SWC website.

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Matthias Samwald

Looking back at a successful VoCamp Oxford

Thinking... about new vocabularies for the Semantic Web

(by Matthias Samwald)

The first VoCamp ever was successfully completed this week at Oxford University. Tom Heath (Talis) and Jun Zhao (Oxford University) led us through two days devoted to creating new vocabularies, schemas and ontologies. The first day was mainly spent on finding common interests, getting to know each other, and identifying the vocabularies that needed to be created. The second day was spent on creating the vocabularies, first on paper, then on the computer.

Fabien Gandon introduced me to his interesting work around corporate ontologies, which I will explore in further detail for the KiWi project. We also made significant progress on developing a basic, common ontology for the representation of agreement, disagreement and discourse, based on SIOC, SCOT, FOAF and the bibliographic ontology. Such an ontology can be of great utility in many knowledge domains, such as biomedical research or the representation of bug/issue reports in software development knowledge management (something that needs to be adressed for adapting the KiWi system for a use-case at Sun Microsystems). I will elaborate on these developments in separate blog posts next week.

In a very short timespan, the participants of the VoCamp created several new vocabularies, such as:

IRC Vocabulary

Participation Ontologies

UDO (Unified Discourse Ontology)

VotePost

Evidence ontology

Whisky Ontology (yes, it’s an ontology about whiskey)

Journey Ontology

Data publishing, sharing, visualisation ontology

On the second day of the VoCamp I also held a short session called „Do OpenCyc and UMBEL know it?“, where I asked for classes and properties that others wanted to create in their developing vocabularies. It turned out that OpenCyc and UMBEL had a relatively good coverage of the terms that others were creating, including whiskey, evidence, or the relation that one person is the boss of another person (relevant for the corporate Semantic Web). I tried to emphasize that linking and re-using such existing entities was vital for the success of new vocabularies, and of the Semantic Web as a whole. Others objected that re-using such existing resources might not be possible given the often very specific requirements and short time-frames of some projects. Still, I think that linking to existing, large resources on the Semantic Web should have a very high priority when developing new vocabularies.

If you are interested in getting new vocabularies out, but did not get the chance to attend VoCamp Oxford: don’t worry, there are many VoCamps planned for the near future. The next VoCamp will already happen in November, and will be located at DERI Galway. The Semantic Web Company will host a VoCamp in Vienna next year.