Report: Life of Information Symposium

27 09 2010

I arrived at the Life of Information Symposium (#lois2010) at ANU somewhat fatigued from the previous days attendance at media140.

Fortunately, I did not feel this way for long. Thanks to Dr Paul Arthur, et al, this event was very well organised, with the timing of presentations and discussions very tight and subject matter kept on topic.

A broad range of very interesting online dictionaries, encyclopedias and collections were discussed including Atlas of Living Australia, Austlit: The Australian Literature Resource, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Medical Pioneers Index, Defining Moments, Dictionary of Sydney, Black Loyalists, Encyclopedia of Australian Science, Gallipoli: The First Day, Founders and Survivors, Invisible Australians, Mapping Our Anzacs, Obituaries Australia, People Australia and Trove

The speakers included Stephen Due, Janet McCalman, Sandra Silcot, Len Smith, Zoë D’Arcy, Cassandra Pybus, Katherine Bode, Donald Hobern, Kerry Taylor, Basil Dewhurst, Ian Johnson, Ross Coleman, Emma Grahame, Steven Hayes,  Stewart Wallace and Tim Sherratt.

My primary interest in this event was to learn more about the technical applications used in the digital humanities as this is a current research interest, particularly data visualisations of semantic web data. So for me the most interesting presentations were by Cassandra Pybus (Black Loyalists), Ian Johnson (Heurist Scholar), Tim Sherratt (Invisible Australians) see his presentation on Slideshare and the team from Dictionary of Sydney – Ross Coleman, Emma Grahame, Steven Hayes and Stewart Wallace. These projects were discussed on a range of levels including content, context and technical tools used for production and management of data.

I could not help comparing media140 and lois2010 even though these events were so different in terms of outlook. What was evident for me as a connection point was the use of the Internet as a communications channel. The major difference at media140, there was a focus on a small number of tools i.e. Twitter and Facebook, whereas at lois2010 many of the projects used custom built, open source and free tools. I guess researchers lead and the rest follow.

The other big difference was the use of social media during the symposium – at #media140 over 2000 tweets were transmitted as opposed to the 50 or so at #lois2010. In fact at one point, I tweeted that I was a lonely voice. Quite a different scenario to the day before.

In summary, I think that the digital humanities is building momentum and starting to really analyse the way in which its subject matter is managed and disseminated. There are still many challenges, including how to manage divergent ontologies and develop tools that have archival value. One of the most interesting questions came from a cultural studies researcher about how dissenting narratives could be portrayed and how other voices could be included in some of the biographical projects. For me this is a crucial issue and one that crowd sourcing can assist with as the audience should be able to include their voice to the narrative.

The other question in my mind is about the audience and their capacity to utilise the tools effectively, which comes back to my accessibility and usability hobby horses. What I would like to see next is a symposium that focuses on the functionality and usability of tools rather than the subject matter as this is currently a gap in my skill set, which I am trying to overcome as quickly as possible.

I look forward to seeing some of the presentations on Slideshare, and I will update this post with the links when they become available.

Project list

 

During the Friday Forum Gavan McCarthy mentioned this report on contextual information frameworks:
http://www.ica.org/en/node/30656





Not navel gazing at #media140

27 09 2010

The recent media140 event in Canberra on 23 September 2010, titled ‘How is the real-time web transforming politics?’ was definitely worth going to, even if it was lacking in some areas. What I was hoping for was some commentary round issues of social inclusion, especially how social media tools have changed communication in the broader community and how viral media makes an impact on the ground. I was especially interested in how community has used these tools to raise awareness about political issues.

My interest in this event was two-fold. Firstly, it was a fact finding mission for my work at www.livinggreener.gov.au – to see what tools are being used and how effective they are in terms of communicating to our target audiences. Secondly, as my PhD project focused on the relationship between online and offline space, activism and community, I wanted to see if connections were made between who and where and what.

Julie Posetti @julie_posetti was one of the key organisers and she did a fantastic job at bringing together a diverse range of commentators, journalists, politicians and activists that are operating in the social media space. I use the term social media loosely as it may be better described in regards to this event as ‘tweeting for the election’.

One of the key elements of this event was the projection of the live twitter feed on two screens either side of the podium. This was an interesting, albeit at times disrupting voice that distracted the audience from the speaker/s, often with humorous results. I found this was a wonderful way of demonstrating the power of two way communications as the recipient of the information/message had the capacity to talk back.

Rather than offering a summary of the event in its entirety, I have opted to comment of each of the sessions separately to provide more detail.

Keynote 1 – US Ambassador Bleich @USAembassyinOZ – Lessons from Obama’s Campaign

Ambassador Bleich’s opening keynote address explored the success of the Obama campaign in regard to the use of social media.  One of the most interesting and relevant points made in this presentation was the relationship between the use of the web and the resulting actions on the ground. The other significant point made was that there is no difference between communications online to offline – that you need to have substance to the message and clearly communicate the issues – there is no ‘magic pudding’.

Obama’s role was central to the campaign strategy and because of the lack of funds he needed to think creatively to get his message out there. In short, Obama needed his name everywhere and trust his supporters – believing that people will behave in similar ways whether online or offline.

Some of the challenges included how to deal with the ‘end of the season’, when the work has been done and the sense of personal connection is lost. Also, people online feel like they have a closer connection and there is a difficulty in managing the volumes of emails, etc. Also, the political space of campaigning is different to that of governing – as a campaigner you represent your supporters and once in government you speak for the entire nation.

My personal take of the Obama campaign is that it seems to have modeled itself on many of the early net-activist strategies used in the late 1990s early 2000, where activists would share information online and then go out in the community and raise awareness of issues. The media campaign for Obama benefited from the fact that the media tools have improved and many lessons have been learnt from those early days.

Panel 1: How are real time and social media platforms changing political communications: Malcolm Turnbull @Turnbullmalcolm, Christine Milne @SenatorMilne, Possum @pollytics, Latika Bourke @latikambourke, Samantha Maiden @samathamaiden

This panel had a range of views which all saw how social media has influenced political communications in different ways. Some of the main points of the discussion included was Possum’s observation that Australia political parties have not really engaged with new media and there is an inherent challenge to engage new audiences – i.e. preaching to the converted. Latika Bourke commented that many politicians pay lip service to the media, using twitter as a channel to publish media releases rather than actually engaging in two way discussions.

The highlight of this panel was the almost heated discussion of the National Broadband Network (NBN) between Malcolm Turnball and Possum. This discussion unfortunately was nipped in the bud, which was a shame as access is a key issue to the debate on social media.

Interview with Rob Oakshott MP @oakeymp: The Role of Social Media in the New Political #Paradigm

Julie Posetti interview with Rob Oakshott looked at a range of topics, including the tweet backlash of his now famous 17 minute election deciding speech. In short, Oakshott wanted to explain it was a considered process hence it taking so long. He also talked about the mobile app he has that tracks his movements via Google maps at roboakshott.mobi. On a number of occasions he questioned the media’s appetite to play the man and not the ball and hoped that more consideration would be made in this area as it detracts from the political issues at stake.

Oakshott also expressed a concern about the ‘fifo’ approach to journalism (fly in-fly out) as it fails to adequately report on community issues.

Keynote 2 – Senator Kate Lundy @katelundy

It is no secret that Kate Lundy is an advocate and supporter of social media and technology. I first saw Lundy speak at a Girl Geek dinner where I also gave a presentation about Dorkbot CBR. In her talk she mentioned how Australians have a history of taking up technology early and that 72% of households have the Internet. Lundy discussed the importance of the NBN in providing access to more Australians and pointed out that it was not just regional and rural areas that miss out in regard to broadband access, citing the Canberra region of Gungahlin as an example. In addition, she emphasised that the NBN debate should be kept separate to the Internet filter debate. Personally, I think there does seem to be an ideological disparity between providing access and then restricting same.

Panel 2: The changing role of traditional political news gatekeepers in the age of the real time web: Peter Martin @1petermartin, Karen Middleton @karenmmiddleton, Lyndal Curtis @lyndalcurtis, James Massola @jamesmassola, Bernard Keane @BernardKeane

The question of the journalist being ‘gatekeepers’ or ‘curators’ of political news on the web was the topic of this panel, which I found to be an inwardly focused discussion on how traditional media can keep control of the news, well, that is how I understood it.

For me, this panel demonstrated that many mainstream journalists are still grappling with this reality that they do not ‘own’ the news and that citizens are commenting and reporting themselves on how they see the news. The most interesting part of the panel was the live twitter feed at #media140, where many in the audience were commenting that the discussion was ‘navel gazing’ and at the end expressing frustration at the panel going over time. In short, the related media theory was not broached, and I tweeted to remind myself of Axel Brun’s text Gatewatching, which has been around since 2003.

Keynote 3 Simon Sheikh, GetUp! @simongetup – Activist Media Models

This presentation from GetUp!’s Simon Sheik started with a video clip of some of the campaigns that the organisation has supported since it started in 2005.

Sheik talked about how politicians and mainstream media has difficulty in understanding who Getup! is and explained that everyone who gets involved is GetUp! He mentioned Senator Abetz’s ongoing criticism of GetUP! as a front for The Labor and Green parties. See GetUp! – A New Kind of Astroturfing

There were a few tweets about how GetUp! raises funds, but for my money the approach is successful for the same reasons that the Obama campaign worked. That if you can build an audience who supports your cause, you will also build capacity on the ground. He used that case of David Hicks as one example of how GetUp! influenced public opinion and political change. The other more recent examples were the successful GetUp! court cases where they took the AEC to the court, challenging electoral laws that prevented voters from enrolling online and the case where the High Court ruled Howard government changes that closed the electoral rolls on the day writs were issued were unconstitutional.

Panel 3: Spin on speed: Controlling the message in the real time web era: Moderator: Alex Sloan @666Canberra, Jo Scard @scardjo, David Hood @davidahood, Jeremy Irvine @jeremy_irvine and Jodee Rich @wingdude

Although there were some interesting observations in this panel there were only a couple of stand out comments for me. David Hood touched on the issue of social inclusion and getting the message heard. Jodee Rich commented that politicians don’t need to be tweeting and broadcasting in the social media space but they need to be actively listening – “running a social media campaign is about listening”.

Keynote 4 Claire Wardle @cward1e – The UK Social Media Election 2010

This was probably the most entertaining of the keynote presentations, which focused on the recent UK election. Dr Claire Wardle impressed the audience with her sense of humour and excellent use of a powerpoint presentation (did I say that!). The presentation titled The UK election and Social Media was made available on Slideshare – which is always useful for referencing.

It would appear that the political parties in the UK all used social media in a way that was responsive to each other and to the community and looks by all means a much more lively and engaged election campaign than Australia’s recent election.

Dr Wardle was able to reengage the audience that according to tweet feeds was becoming ‘snarky’, perhaps as a result of too much discussion that was internalised and circular – media talking about media talking about media.

Some highlights of this presentation included discussions about:

  • the Slapometer (the UK’s version of the worm)
  • #nickcleggsfault – a twitter feed where people blame everything on Nick cleggs
  • Bigotgate – when Gordon Brown complained that a constituent was a bigot and didn’t realise he still had his microphone on

Dr Wardle also talked about the importance of humour and the impact that it has on people because it is an emotional response. Also that we needed to “stop thinking about online and offline as two separate things because they compliment each other”. Check out the Slideshare presentation for more examples.

Panel 4: Alternative views of political news: Peter Brent @mumbletwits, First Dog on the Moon @firstdogonmoon, Mike Bowers @mpbowers, Malcolm Farnsworth @mfarnsworthand Julian Morrow @moreoj

This was an interesting panel in terms of the mix of personalities and roles – from cartoonist to political blogger to comedian to photographer and researcher. Covered a range of issues from the use of ABC footage to the role of satire in politics. Also talked about something that was earlier referred to as the Anne Frank effect, where people are blogging and tweeting in their cupboards as events happen. At this point I was reminded of Salam Pax’s famous 2003 blog Where is Raed? At the time Pax’s blog received a lot of critical attention from people in the blogosphere because of the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces. He has since moved the blog and retitled it Salam Pax: the Baghdad Blogger

Panel 5: GOV 2.0: Participatory Democracy and Citizen Engagement: Moderator: Chris Winter (ABC Innovation), Dr Jason Wilson (CONF) @jason_a_w, Stephen Collins @trib, Craig Thomler @craigthomler, Senator Scott Ludlam @SenatorLudlam

This was the panel I was most interested in seeing and I think it would have benefited from being scheduled earlier in the day, as the issues that came up in this panel needed to addressed far earlier, in my opinion.

Social inclusion, the recognition that social media is much bigger than Facebook and Twitter, the aspirations of Gov 2.0 and the engagement of community were all themes in this session.

Well known Gov 2.0 blogger Craig Thomler announced at the outset that he was a public servant and that he was at the event as a private citizen – a point that needs to be stated, given that as an APS officer he is bound by a code of conduct.

Personally there was not enough about how open government and Gov 2.0 can be invigorated from the inside out, which is a big challenge and one recognised in the Gov 2.0 Taskforce report. Nonetheless, there was some very sharp observations made about the media and other panel discussions. For example, Dr Jason Wilson referred to earlier comments made by panellists about political blogger Grogs’s Gamut and his apparent anonymity. He asked “Who is Grog’s Gamut?!”. In response a handful of people stood up and announced “I’m Grog’s Gamut!” “No, I’m Grog’s Gamut!”. It was a response that had been organised in advance by a some friends (including Wilson) as a bit of a joke because throughout the day the name “Grog’s Gamut” had been mentioned a few times – to the point where Osman Faruqi was tweeting that he had been having a drink every time it was mentioned and that he was pretty well on his ear. From Grog’s Gamut.

Conclusion

It is interesting to note that several days after the media140 conference, there has been renewed discussions on who has a right to comment on politics in the media. Craig Thomler wrote that: Today Grog, of the Grog’s Gamut blog, has been outed by James Massola of The Australian as Greg Jericho, a federal public servant who happens to blog on matters of politics. (27 September 2010)

The fact that James Massola, who appeared on a panel at media140 chose to ‘out’ Greg Jericho and question whether Jericho had a right to challenge political views in the media, highlights that mainstream media is struggling with the concept of citizen journalism.

In summary, if we are going to move towards Gov 2.0, open government and truly social media, then some crucial steps need to be made. Firstly, there need to be a realisation  from government and the media that public servants are citizens and as such are therefore entitled to comment on information in the public domain. Secondly, any type of discussion of social media needs to address issues of social inclusion and access to media. Thirdly, to address the issue of access there needs to be a redressing of the digital divide, another topic only touched on at media140. Finally, there needs to be a fundamental notion of  trust in the community by media and government so that information can effectively be distributed and shared.

Fave #media140 tweets This is a very small collection of some of the tweets that I liked from the event – if you are interested in reading the feed go to #media140

Read the ABC Canberra at Media140 blog for a transcript of the presentations.





[Air-L] New Sample Available Datasets on PCAT – Coding Comments From YouTube or other Web 2.0 Platforms

12 09 2010

I thought that this post from  Air-L was worth sharing as there are a number of very interesting data sets to play with. The full email has been transcribed below

Post:

We have posted a variety of new sample datasets on PCAT (http://pcat.qdap.net) for researchers who want to experiment with commentanalysis. The datasets were compiled using the “InfoExtractor” tool built by Chirag Shah. PCAT is a free text analysis platform that allows you or your team to search, sort, filter & classify the items in a dataset. Further, PCAT has on-board tools for the measurement of inter-coder reliability and validity, generating tag-clouds, and lots of other nifty stuff.

If you decise the techniques are useful, using InfoExtractor (http://www.infoextractor.org), you can go into YouTube, news sites, or blogs to scrape off the comments that you want to study in an XML format  that uploads easily into PCAT.

These new samples are already posted under “Sample Datasets” when you create
a new account:

- Climate Change
– Climate Change (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=8>
– HOME (English with subtitles) (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=9>
– How It All Ends (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=10>
– Global Warming 101 (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=11>
– Global Warming (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=12>
– Gulf Oil Spill
– Gulf Coast Oil Spill In-Situ Burn (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=13>
– Ocean currents likely to carry oil spill to Atlantic (841
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=14>
– BP Slick Covers Dolphins and Whales (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=15>
– NASA | Satellites View Growing Gulf Oil Spil (999
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=16>
– New Underwater footage of BP oil leak at the source (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=17>
– Immigration
– President Obama, No One in Arizona is Laughing (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=18>
– Shakira Speaks Out Against Arizona Immigration Law (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=19>
– Gabriella Speaks City Council Meeting April 27, 2010 (847
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=20>
– Response to President Calderon (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=21>
– Illegals Threaten To Murder Americans With Axes and Shovels (1000
items) <https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=22>
– Job Market
– Video Essay: Jobless in America (50
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=23>
– Veterans Jobless Rate Doubles Civilians (97
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=24>
– First Person: Being Unemployed Is ‘Devastating’ (142
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=25>
– The Truth About the Economy: Total Collapse (1000
items)<https://pcat.qdap.net/app/sampleDatasets.aspx?id=26>

To try it out, set up a free account at http://pcat.qdap.net. There is a 9 minute PCAT overview video online at:

http://www.screencast.com/t/ZDczNmE3Mz


Dr. Stuart W. Shulman
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
University of Massachusetts Amherst
200 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003

http://people.umass.edu/stu/
stu@polsci.umass.edu
413-545-5375

Editor, Journal of Information Technology and Politics
http://www.jitp.net

Director, QDAP-UMass
http://www.umass.edu/qdap/

Associate Director, National Center for Digital Government
http://www.umass.edu/digitalcenter/





09-10-2010 or 10-09-2010 or 2010-09-10

10 09 2010

I get so confused sometimes about the dates on  documents because of the different date formats – mainly because in Australia we tend to use DD/MM/YY, whereas in the US the standard is MM/DD/YY. Some years ago I came across the use of the  Internet Date Format ISO 8601 and thought it would useful to start to use this format as the standard for the date. There is some good information about this issue on the International Date Format Campaign website.

My mission now is to get all of my social media and web content updated to reflect this format – no small task. ;-)





THATCamp CBR – Summary report

9 09 2010

THATCamp CBR Report

On 28-29 August, I participated in a very interesting event titled THATcamp Canberra, which was organised by Tim Sherratt (@wragge), Cath Styles (@cathstyles) and Mitchell Whitelaw (@mtchl) and hosted by University of Canberra.

This blog post is a summary of all the posts that were published on the mediakult blog about THATCamp, in an effort to keep the content together.

To explain, THATCamp Canberra was a user-generated ‘unconference’ on digital humanities. It was inspired by the original THATCamp, organised by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and is one of a growing number of regional THATCamps springing up around the world. (‘THAT’ = ‘The Humanities And Technology’.)

The unconference model works on the idea that the participants generate the sessions, based on individual interests and research. In the lead up to THATCamp, participants blogged suggestions and then when we met on Saturday morning, the program was decided as a group, facilitated by Tim.

The sessions covered a broad range of topics including data visualisation to digital mapping to semantic web to augmented/digital space. Here is link to the THATCamp CBRprogram from Cath Styles Flickr page.

The sessions I attended were:

I missed the data visualisation session, but thanks to Michael Honey, this list of data viz links is a great resource of information about projects and tools focused on the visualisation of data.

As a general comment, the content of the sessions I attended was very rich, which was achieved by sharing experiences and tools in the spirit of collaboration. I have referred to some of the tools and projects in my reports on the workshops I attended. I went to THATcamp hoping to gain some practical skills and I found this, plus much more. I think the unconference model is a great way to focus on what participants want to explore, which was a big contributor to the success of the event.

THATCamp CBR – Semantic web session

The semantic web session was hugely popular, facilitated by Corey Wallis a software engineer who is involved in the development of additional services for the AusStage system as part of the Aus-e-Stage project.

I am particularly interested in the development of semantic web tools as an opportunity for LivingGreener to visualise data about sustainability issues. In addition to this as an artist and researcher I am starting to explore the use of semantic web and mapping tools as a way of developing creative work about family, identity. migration and place.

In short, Corey proposed a session that explored the potential use of semantic web technologies, such as the Resource Description Framework RDF, in supporting research and other projects in the humanities. Some initial questions to start the discussion include:

  • What are these types of technologies used for?
  • What kinds of activities in the humanities do they support?
  • What are the kinds of problems that we’ve used these technologies to solve?
  • What kinds of issues have been explored in using these types of technologies?
  • Sharing thoughts on success stories, war stories and other experiences with these types of technologies.

THATCamp CBR – Open linked data session

The main focus on this session was the access and use of PSI (Public Sector Information). Asa LeTourneau, from the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) led this discussion.

This discussion focused on a range of issues including, developing APIs, data scaping from websites, and making data available and different institutions that have made their data available in different formats.

In many ways, this discussion ended up being more about the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ and I was hoping for more about the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ on a technical level. That said, I did learn that it is important to write good XML and to have strong URIs :-)

There was a general comment that Australian government archives ahead of the game because of the ‘series system’ developed in the 1960s. This is a great opportunity for access and visualisation of open data on a global scale. There were also comments that there had been some very good work in this area in New Zealand.

THATCamp CBR – Digital mapping session

BootCamp: Putting the Digital Humanities in its place … what, why and how to map
Presented by Ian Johnson.

This session was an excellent practical introduction into digital mapping. Ian provided some very good information about the basics of GIS (Geographic Information System) and the types of tools and databases used to generate visualisations that intersected data with mapping.

To begin with, the group was taken through an overview of GIS, which I found particularly helpful as I have not had any formal training in this area and have a great interest in learning skills in mapping and GIS.

The presentation then focused on a number of projects that have used GIS technologies, for example: Macquarie map of Indigenous Australia 2007; South Seas Project; Digital Harlem 1915 – 1930 and Dictionary of Sydney.

Ian then provided a list of tools that are used for developing these projects – most significantly Time Maps and Heurist.

I am looking forward to learning much more about digital mapping and building technical skills with some of the tools mentioned in the blog post.

THATCamp CBR – Digital/Augmented space session

In this session, the focus was on how we can traverse physical space with digital tools, map our location and connect with others. There was a particular focus on who has been in the same location and what this could mean for sharing an experience of a space or idea of place. The discussion was led by Dr Chris Chesher, who initiated the discussion by sharing his interest in robots and augmented space.

This topic is close to my heart as it is related to my creative practice as well as my PhD research.

This discussion covered a lot of ground in terms of covering tools, conceptual issues, future possibilities and challenges. For this reason, the majority of this blog post is a list of dot points which are split into three sections – concepts/issues, tools and references. The best aspect of this session was that there was a lot of blue sky thinking about what was imagined, what was possible and what is already emerging. Thanks to @ellenforsyth for providing the initial list of discussion points.





THATCamp CBR – Semantic web session

1 09 2010

The semantic web session was hugely popular, facilitated by Corey Wallis a software engineer who is involved in the development of additional services for the AusStage system as part of the Aus-e-Stage project.

I am particularly interested in the development of semantic web tools as an opportunity for LivingGreener to visualise data about sustainability issues. In addition to this as an artist and researcher I am starting to explore the use of semantic web and mapping tools as a way of developing creative work about family, identity. migration and place.

In short, Corey proposed a session that explored the potential use of semantic web technologies, such as the Resource Description Framework RDF, in supporting research and other projects in the humanities. Some initial questions to start the discussion include:

  • What are these types of technologies used for?
  • What kinds of activities in the humanities do they support?
  • What are the kinds of problems that we’ve used these technologies to solve?
  • What kinds of issues have been explored in using these types of technologies?
  • Sharing thoughts on success stories, war stories and other experiences with these types of technologies.


The conversation covered the following points:

  • what is the difference between semantic web and linked open data?
  • Relational data and semantic web? Relationship data operates within a schema eg. Database
  • semantic web creates definitions that can be read universally
  • semantic web google doc to share
  • ANDS funded research – Basil D – People Australia
  • local identifiers (URIs) with persistent identifiers (internal) – subjects, events, geo-locale, history
  • making sure that data is published in the right format – RDF (uni of melbourne)
  • friend of a friend – looking at relational ontologies  – People Australia links in
  • trove, skos – concept of a person, simple knowledge origin systems skos
  • link between tagging within the organisation and public interactions
  • XML represents data structure but not meaning, RDF document can be rendered to be human readable
  • you can embed RDF, RDF aarnet, RDFA, griddle into html
  • freebase?
  • http://www.amw.org.au/register
  • seems to be a gap in developer expertise in RDF
  • sparql queries do not compress, distributed sources of data is more flexible and lighter and huge data store
  • breaking up sets of ontologies and cross referencing
  • bio ontologies, creative commons, isocat, dublin core, ontology register, schemipedia, swoogle
  • rdf browser, disco browser
  • australian pictorial resource, AMOL
  • problem with authorative data base of ontologies with folksonomies
  • understanding how ontologies are developed
  • the discussion about universal tags created by institutions vs crowdsourced, folksonomy tags has been going for over ten years – see Ontologies and Metadata

It seems that the way forward is to develop small manageable ontologies that can be woven together in a cohesive, flexible way. It is also important to create good code that follows with RDF standards. Given that there appears to be limited expertise in the area of RDF development, there is a need to build those skills to ensure the success of semantic web projects,





THATCamp CBR – Open linked data session

1 09 2010

The main focus on this session was the access and use of PSI (Public Sector Information). Asa LeTourneau, from the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) led this discussion.

This discussion focused on a range of issues including, developing APIs, data scaping from websites, and making data available and different institutions that have made their data available in different formats.

In many ways, this discussion ended up being more about the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ and I was hoping for more about the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ on a technical level. That said, I did learn that it is important to write good XML and to have strong URIs :-)

The session proposal on the THATCamp blog read:

Web2.0 has taken hold at PROV and we are now trying to figure out ways to take our existing data and publish it in a usable form on a regular and automatic basis. The specific tasks we have in mind are:

  • how to extract data into xml format
  • design a tool that can harvest xml on a regular basis automatically
  • identify what is an archival standard xml and why and what are its elements
  • how to match our xml elements to the archival standard xml elements and describe why the matching has occurred
  • design a tool that can publish xml on a regular basis automatically
  • Currently users access the collection here. One day, with your help, they may be able to access it

Here are a number of examples of institutions offering data and some of the methods and tools being used:

  • one of the main methods of acquiring open data is by the use of a screen scraper and then put data into xml schema
  • PROV are scraping own website
  • Access the PROV collection
  • People Australia have an API – Basil D (People Australia) is interested in people who want to use apis
  • Powerhouse made available data in csv format
  • Gov 2.0 innovation plan
  • Open Calais?
  • Machine tagging and crowdsourcing as a community activity
  • LORE – anna gerber uq http://thatcampcanberra.org/camper/anna/
  • Design and art australia online – users make corrections to data
  • gate systems
  • Xpath
  • OpenSearch, please consider JSON output – it makes web UIs easier/faster
  • http://defining.net.au/wall/
  • metadata conference – analysis of comments from dutch archives – sigfried??
  • open annotation project www.openannotation.org
  • Koori records unit – wiki – prov
  • community project in western district – wanting to develop sensitive system where rights of access is respected – who can see what because of cultural appropriateness
  • Who am I project – ARC linkage project

There was a general comment that Australian government archives ahead of the game because of the ‘series system’ developed in the 1960s. This is a great opportunity for access and visualisation of open data on a global scale. There was also comments that there had been some very good work in this area in New Zealand.








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