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Creating Semantic mashups: Bridging Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web

Development, Workshop
Location: 2006 Level: Intermediate

This tutorial will identify how the architecture of participation can be extended by combining open data and open source semantic technologies. It will emphasize an ecology of open data whereby data is reused and processed results are republish for the consumption by other systems.

We will use simple, hands-on examples to expose participants to semantic techniques that are possible today, and the tutorial will culminate by working through the development of a semantic widget which makes use of the techniques described.

The tutorial is broken into three sections:

An introduction to applied semantic techniques: introduces the value of shared semantics between applications. Provide a brief contrast between the formal Semantic Web and current applied approaches. Identifies “strong semantic keys” and the need for annotated open data as a critical elements shared between these two communities.

Weaving semantic relationships with today’s technologies: introduces the basic concepts and representation of RDF data sources. Identifies the mechanisms for reading and navigating Linked Open Data[x]. Describes how to use Freebase as source for shared semantic and strong keys.

Building something useful: a semantic widget for movie reviews.
A simple blogging widget is described that brings information together from disparate open data sources based on a single, author configuration parameter. The widget performs simple attribute introspection allowing the author to configure the display of the widget based on the data gathered. The author’s content is republished with additional semantics making the contribution usable by other authors in the future.

Developers attending this tutorial should feel comfortable making simple REST API service calls in their favorite language and have a passing familiarity with basic XML and JSON constructions. Though code snippets will be presented in Python their translation to any modern language should be obvious.

As background, this tutorial is an effort to demonstrate that the vision painted by Ankolekar et al.‘s paper “The Two Cultures: Mashing up Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web” (http://www.www2007.org/papers/paper777.pdf) is not only possible using today’s semantic technologies but through data reuse and extension these techniques can ignite Open Data Communities.

Photo of Jamie Taylor

Jamie Taylor


While developing an Internet laboratory for studying economic equilibria, Jamie started one of the first ISPs in San Francisco so he could get a better connection at home.
He finally got a real job as CTO at DETERMINE Software (now a part of Selectica) helping create order in the unstructured world of Enterprise contract management.
He is now helping to organize the world’s structured information at Metaweb where he oversees data operations.

Photo of Colin Evans

Colin Evans


Colin combines machine learning and semantic analysis into a deadly one-two punch against information entropy and noisy data. The results of his efforts appear as millions of facts in Freebase.
Prior to joining Metaweb, Colin helped users organize their world through his work on the IRIS semantic desktop project at SRI.

Photo of Toby Segaran

Toby Segaran


Toby Segaran is the author of the O’Reilly title, “Programming Collective Intelligence”, Amazon’s top-selling AI book, and the Data Magnate at Metaweb Technologies. Prior to Metaweb he founded and sold a biotechnology software company. He loves applying data-mining algorithms to everything ranging from pharmaceutical trials to the Technorati Top 100.