Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ICBO2011 Preparations

In a couple of weeks I will attend the International Conference on Biomedical Ontology (ICBO) 2011, in Buffalo, NY. 
In July, hundreds of international scientists from dozens of biomedical fields will meet at the University at Buffalo seeking a common language with which to energize cross-disciplinary research.“ From ICBO News: For the Sake of Research and Patient Care, Scientists Must Find Common Language
And yes, it will be a great opportunity for me to see the Niagara Falls again. This time  from the American side. Last time I saw it was in 1999 from the Canadian side when I attended the W3C conference in Toronto. The WWW8 conference where I was absolutely thrilled by the power of the simple and elegant model of RDF triples. At the WWW8 I also heard Tim Berners-Lee talk about the Semantic Web for the first time.

The coming weeks I hope to able to do a re-cap of a couple of ontology related papers and articles, and also read and digest some new ones listed for the events I have signed up for:

I will use one or two forthcoming blog posts to write up my insights and reflections coming to my mind while reading.

Here's a quote I think well captures my motivation to learn more about ontologies and getting my ICBO2011 attendance approved by my managers. It's taken from this great article More than Words: Biomedical Ontologies with references to the work of several of the international scientists who will get together at the ICBO2011.
“… true ontologies are more than just controlled terms. They capture, in a logical, systematic way, what scientists regard as the basic truths about a topic. Like equations in physics or axioms in mathematics, they can even be the basis for computational models. When connected to databases, scientific papers, and software applications, ontologies ‘help cope with the ever-growing, chaotic accumulation of text and facts" in biomedical and translational research.“

Sunday, June 12, 2011


The last couple of days the Twitter feeds for #semanticweb and #linkeddata have been very busy and #semtech peaked with more than one tweet per minute during the Semantic Technology Conference 2011 in San Fransisco 5-9 June.
See the #SemTech 2011 Twitterscript for agreat overview of all the #semtech tweets sent during the conference, aligned with the sessions going on at the time. Kudos to  @glenn_mcdonald and @needlebase.
For me, here over in Sweden,  it's been a couple of late evenings and some busy mornings catching up on Twitter while commuting. Below some of the presentations, discussions, and blogs I did find extra interesting.

A couple of days before the conference the news came out on Twitter about the announcement from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft (Bing) on their joint schema.org. A global, single vocabulary and the use of Microdata to encode structured data into web-pages using this vocabulary for search engines to do a better job.
A graph centric visualization of the schema.org vocabulary
with "Thing" in the center of it

The first comment I re-tweeted as a "I Liked" on this topic was a tweet on Friday 5 June by Darin L. Stewart (@darinlstewart) pointing to his posting on Gartner's blog: Schema.org: Webmaster One-Stop or Linked Data Land Grab? With some early critique. At the same time came the first version of a RDF Schema version of the vocabulary on schema.rdfs.org. Great job done by Michael Hausenblas (@MHausenblas) et al.. And I did find it interesting to read the quick, positive comment from Chris Bizer, the Linked Data guru behind DBpedia, on Google's official webmaster blog. During the conference schema.org was also the *hot* topic and late Wednesday evening my time I followed a heated online IRC discussion from the BOF on structured data in HTML and vocabularies. For more reading on this topic see the link bundle called schema.org is in town compiled by Michael Hasheke (@hashek)

Linked Data Tutorial and Cookbook
Among all the tutorials and presentations at the conference I picked up two great Linked Data resources, First of all Juan Sequeda's (@juansequeda) tutorial series, and also  a presentation "I liked, very much"- The Joy of Data - A cookbook for publishing and consuming Linked Data by Bernadette Hyland (@BernHylland). These two triggered me to create a separate Linked Data Resource Page with my favorites, including these two.

Linked Health Data
The last day of the conference I spotted some tweets that toke me to the presentation I liked most of all: Clinical quality linked data on health.data.gov, presented by George Thomas (@georgethomas). See also his blog post on data.gov with an excellent argumentation for linking  publicly available health data such as hospital compare data:
In addition to making flatfiles available to download on the Web, and providing applications that enable programmatic access to backend databases through the Web, imagine using the Web itself as a database: a massively distributed, decentralized database. This is what Linked Data is about – putting data in the Web.

Two technologies to catch up with
Many tweets talked two Calimachus, a framework for data-driven applications based on Linked Data principles allowing Web authors to quickly and easily create semantically-enabled Web applications. I will have a look at the Calimaschus videos they published. And a presentation on Semantic Architecture & Composing Resource Oriented System, by Brian Sletten (@bsletten), made me curios to learn more about the architecture thinking called  NetKernel.

Other blog posts 
I look forward to read several reflective blog posts the coming week when the participants are back home. For example, I look forward to see what Darin L. Stewart (@darinlstewart) will report from SemTech 2011 on his Gartner blog. I will update this blog post with links to what I find interesting.