Semantic Web

RDFa in Drupal: Bringing Cheese to the Web of Data

"RDFa in Drupal: Bringing Cheese to the Web of Data" is the title of our short paper which was recently accepted at the 5th Workshop on Scripting and Development for the Semantic Web. It seems that the topic of food on the semantic web is the new black as this paper comes out at the same time as Boris Mann's announcement about the Open Restaurants aka "BaconPatioBeer".

This paper illustrates how a CMS like Drupal can be used on the Semantic Web and make every Drupal site part of the growing Web of Data. We created a cheese review site as a use case. It relies on the RDF API and the RDF CCK modules.

The good news is that we are working to get this RDF goodness into Drupal core! We are organizing an RDF code sprint. This sprint builds on Dries' ideas expressed in his recent posts Drupal, the semantic web and search and RDFa and Drupal. With RDF in the core of Drupal and RDFa output by default, it's dozens of thousands of websites which will all of a sudden start publishing their data as RDF.

So far, Stéphane Corlosquet, Florian Loretan, Benjamin Melançon and Rolf Guescini have signed up. How about you?

Some others are willing to come but cannot afford the trip until some funding is secured. To help us fund the sprint and bring more Drupal rockstars on board, please consider making a donation using the ChipIn widget on this page. The money will be used to cover flight, food and hotel costs for the sprinters. All sprinters are generously donating their time to make this happen. It would also be great to fly in a few additional people with extensive testing and Fields experience. Any excess money will be used to add more people, or will be donated to the Drupal Association.

Report on my recent trip to the US: Harvard, DrupalCon...

During my 5 week stay in the US, I was based at the Harvard's Initiative in Innovative Computing where I worked on the Drupal based Science Collaboration Framework (SCF) project with Tim Clark, Sudeshna Das and Benjamin Melançon. I had the chance to meet Tim last year when he visited DERI and presented the SCF project. Our goal was to align the efforts which were put into SCF with the efforts of the Drupal community in terms of RDF, and see what requirements are emerging from a project such as SCF and contribute them back to the Drupal community. Tim and Benjamin had arranged for me to present the latest RDF module developments at the semantic web interest group gatherings in Cambridge, Mass and New York. Many more popped up as I was there. They are detailed below.

New York for 2 days

Feb 26th: presentation at the meetup.com NYC semantic web user group organized by Marco Neumann. This was the description of the presentation:

The Semantic Web strikes again

Exciting times for the Semantic Web in Drupal...

Harvard IIC and SCF


Today is my first day at Harvard's Initiative in Innovative Computing where I'll work on the Drupal based Science Collaboration Framework (SCF) project with Tim Clark, Sudeshna Das and Benjamin Melançon. I had the chance to meet Tim last year when he visited DERI and presented the SCF project. We'll work on aligning the efforts which were put into SCF with the efforts of the Drupal community in terms of RDF. We will see what requirements are emerging from a project such as SCF and contribute them back to the Drupal community.

Talking about the Semantic Web and Drupal next week at DrupalCon Szeged 2008

Following up on the interest of the Drupal Semantic Web group, I'll present my ideas on the Semantic Web which will be an update of the talk I gave in Barcelona. I will also present a project which I co-started a few months ago: Neologism. The session is scheduled for Saturday 30th at 3pm.

Neologism is a lightweight web-based vocabulary editor and publishing tool built with Drupal. It makes vocabulary authoring easy and fun. Just create a vocabulary, add classes and properties to it, and your vocabulary is instantly published and available online! Several formats are supported via content negotiation: HTML, RDF/XML and N3. All the term URIs are dereferenceable and point to their human readable description.

See the session details on the drupalCon site.

Others are invited to tag along and present their Drupal semweb application as well!

There will also be some semantic web related BoF:

See you next week!

First RDF Schema for a Semantic Web enabled Drupal

As a semantic web researcher and developer, my goal is to bring these technologies to the
lay people. The main problem is the common chicken and egg dilemma,
where the semantic web technologies need semantic data to become truly
useful and powerful, but nobody wants to produce such data until they can see how powerful the semantic web is.

There is an immense amount of data available on the internet spread over millions of
HTML pages, PDF documents, et cetera. These formats have been designed for
making these documents understandable for people, but not for machines. In this instance RDF
comes in as a language to describe data and relationships within the data. From a web of documents we evolve to a web of pieces of
data, i.e. concepts, items, ideas, events, people, you name it. Each of
them can be identified by their own Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), and the web becomes a global database.

Great success of the Semantic Web at Drupalcon

some of the audienceI gave my talk at DrupalCon Barcelona on Friday to an audience of about 50 people. I presented some concepts of the Semantic Web and how they are applied in the case of online communities with the SIOC technology. The slides are available for download. I got interesting feedbacks during the presentation, such as Fen Labalme from Civicactions who strongly recommended to avoid using FOAF and to use more secure and privacy friendly technologies such as XRI.

SIOC view
Figures are always better than several pages of text. Here we see several people being connected by the content they create online. (Credit: John Breslin)

I also gave a quick demo of a prototype drupal site querying a SPARQL endpoint such as dbpedia.org. More people came at the end of the session to greet me, they obviously liked the presentation and the opportunities that the Semantic Web can offer. People were so enthusiastic that we had to continue our conversations outside, and I missed the first half of the next talk! But it was great to see so a great response from the community! Also, thanks to Peter aka Greenman for organizing this session at the first place.

The next day, Jonathan Hendler was talking about the Semantic Search module he created for Drupal.

Jonathan Hendler

After some technical difficulties to set up the computer and the video, he went through a short explanation of what RDF means. Someone asked when the Semantic Web would hit us, Jonathan replied that "the Semantic Web already hit us, we just missed it". The audience was quite RDF savvy already, so he quickly moved on to more technical details. The LINC - Leveraging Investments in Creativity site is an online demo of the Semantic Search tool running on a drupal site. He also showed the administration pages which allow you to specify which RDF store you want to use. His module can run on Sesame and on YARS. Jonathan was glad when I announced that YARS2 came out recently and that it was now supporting SPARQL!

Again, some people expressed their interest after the talk, and we decided to move to the BoF room, in order to brainstorm about Drupal and the Semantic Web.

BoF on the Semantic Web and Drupal

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