STC 2008 – Day 2

Started the day out with keynote speeches by Nova Spivack (Radar Networks) & Eric Miller (Zepheira). This was followed by presentations, of which my favorites were on Persistent Identifiers, Blue Organizer, and Bringing Semantics to Mainstream Markets. I closed the day out by going to the vendor exhibits.

Nova talked about what’s going on with Twine. In particular, he talked about some new features that will be rolling out this summer, while the site is still in invite-only beta, and what will be rolling out in the fall when the site becomes open to the public. The main features of interest to me are that the UI will become simpler, and their will be “a lot more semantics.” Admittedly, that’s a bit vague. (A new acquaintance, John Breslin, wrote about it in more detail on his blog).

Then Eric demonstrated various new open source tools, including Remix, which I found really interesting. I knew I would be interested in Remix. Months ago, when I talked to Eric about the premise of my presentation, he told me that I would be interested in Remix. The funny thing is that he always seems apologetic that the UI isn’t more sophisticated, but having recently looked at a lot of the data manipulation tools people are currently using, I can say with confidence that Remix is decades ahead of some of the things that people are muddling through. (Again, John Breslin has written a more detailed post on Eric Miller’s presentation.)

Next I went to see Eric Miller and his colleague David Wood speak about persistent identifiers. They discussed the use of URLs to “point” to real world things or concepts. See for more info on this idea.

Alex Iskold gave a presentation of Blue Organizer, from Adaptive Blue. This is a semantically-enabled plug-in for Firefox. I had installed it a while ago, but found out from this presentation that there are a lot features that I haven’t been using. Also talked with Alex afterwards about an odd behavior and he said I should upgrade to the latest version. So, I think I need to reinstall and have a closer look at it. In general, what this tool does is provide specific, contextual actions that you can perform on a page, a link or any bit of text that you might highlight in a web page.

Later, as the exhibits were opening, Jeff Pollock (Oracle) gave a presentation on Bringing Semantics to Mainstream Markets. I thought Jeff was great ever since we met him a few years ago when he was working for Cerebra. First of all Jeff pointed out that Semantic Technology is not itself a market. But there’s a lot of talk this conference about semantics being a “blue ocean opportunity” (in other words: uncontested – get in now before the waters get bloodied!). He talked about how to make a good business case for adopting semantic technologies. This is one that I’m going to have to try to get a copy of so I can show it to the colleagues.

Then the exhibits, and my brain was so full by then that I don’t really remember what I saw. I walked around collecting information, met a couple new people, and talked with some old friends. I’ll sort through the business cards and brochures later and put all the pieces together.

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