Background research work leading to RDF in Drupal 7 released as part of my Master's thesis

Oct 22nd, 2010 NUIG graduation leaflet (Photo credit: Anna Dabrowska)

Today it's about time to make my M.Sc. thesis available online. The review process took a long while, but I finally graduated from DERI, National University of Ireland, Galway last October. That's more than a year after I submitted my thesis and actually left Galway to move to Boston.

I started my Master's degree back in August 2007 in Galway, Ireland. At the time I was not sure what I would end up writing about, but a few months later, it became clear that Drupal combined with RDF was going to be my topic of choice, and thanks to my supervisor this was made possible. From then onwards, it's been a heck of a ride! It all started with informal discussions on groups.drupal.org about what the RDF schema in Drupal could look like. Later in October 2008, Dries made it clear that he would support RDFa in the next version of Drupal core. A few weeks later I posted a roadmap for RDFa in Drupal 7, raised some funds and organized a code sprint in Galway in May 2009. That was the time when I had to wrapped up my thesis, which included some details on the design of the RDF in core as it was back then. Around the same time I submitted a paper on my work with Drupal and RDF to the 8th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2009) which was to win the Best Semantic Web In Use Paper Award a few months later. The same year I went to Boston for an internship with the IIC group at Harvard, presented the state of Drupal and RDF at a few local meetups in Washington DC, New York and Boston, and got a scholarship to DrupalCon DC (where I met Lin who became a valuable RDF contributor and created SPARQL Views). Finally Dries committed the main RDFa patch in October 2009 after much discussions in the core RDF issue queue!

There been a decent amount of people involved in this great RDF journey, and I want to thank them all, including my supervisor Axel Polleres and my thesis reviewers: John Breslin, Stefan Decker and Tim Clark.

The title of my thesis is "Bootstrapping the Web of Data with Drupal" and its content is still pretty accurate today, although the RDF schema has changed a little. Here is the most recent version which ships with Drupal 7.0:
RDF schema of Drupal 7

There has been a lot going on in the RDF contributed modules since 2009! Subscribe to the Semantic Web group and check out these modules for fresh RDF coolness: RDF, SPARQL, SPARQL Views.

Here is how you can cite my thesis: Corlosquet, S. Bootstrapping the Web of Data with Drupal. M.Sc. thesis, Digital Enterprise Research Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway. 2009. 80 p.

Photo credit: Anna Dabrowska

Comments

Congratulations Stéphane and thanks for all the work that you've done to get this into Drupal core!

Here's a couple of more reminiscing blasts from the past in the two Drupal Voices interviews that I did with you in DC and San Francisco.
http://www.lullabot.com/podcasts/drupal-voices-18-st%C3%A9phane-corlosqu...
http://www.lullabot.com/podcasts/drupal-voices-164-stephane-corlosquet-o...

I remember how eager you were to tell me about the latest work with RDF and Drupal when you had received a scholarship to come to DC. Then you weren't quite ready to go on the record with updates at DrupalCon Paris since RDF was on the shortlist of exceptions for the code freeze, and you weren't sure what to say about what would happen with the code slush period. But then you were able to give a happier update in San Francisco. :)

Congratulations once again, and I'm sure that this is one of the infrastructure pieces that could help the semantic web start to really take off!

Thanks Kent for the kind words. It's been great chatting with you at the various DrupalCons. I'm so glad RDF made it through the code slush!

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