Started out the day with my own presentation – Survey of Taxonomy Tools (follow the link to view the slides). It seemed to be pretty well received, for the most part. I included some time for discussion, and several people contributed interesting comments and questions. I was pretty happy with the turnout considering that this session was first thing in the morning.

After that I was so relieved, I’m surprised I could do anything, but I jumped right back into some interesting presentations, including a panel on Developing Semantic Web Applications, a talk on Calais, and a keynote that included several of the Rising Stars of the Semantic Web. Then I ended the day on the speaking side of the table again.

The panel on Developing Sem Web Apps was subtitled “Current Tools, Best Practices, & Future Directions.” I have to admit, this one was immediately following mine, so I was still having some trouble focusing, even though it included several fascinating people who I really admire. Hopefully there will be an audio file of this one and I can listen to it later sometime.

The presentation on Calais was a short solution session. Thomas Tague described several ways people can use their free semantic tagging service. I’m going to have to try it out, and I’m sure I’ll write about it further here. This is the second time I’ve heard someone mention the Powerhouse Museum collection – semantically tagged and searchable online.

The Rising Stars keynote was a little odd. There are so many incredibly interesting people here, it’s a bit weird to call some of them rising stars. Maybe they mean the companies, or the products. But it still seemed somehow out-of-character for this conference. In any case, what I learned is that I need to take a closer look at Powerset and that “The Killer App for Semantic Technology is Your Life (online)”. Tom Gruber (of Stealth-company.com) was responsible for that last insight. Killer Apps are always a big buzzword at this conference, with some people wondering what and when it will be, and other people arguing that there won’t be one, but that semantics will be used to make all the things you already do that much better. I’m in the latter camp, so Gruber’s comments resonated with me. A sort of 21st century “medium is the message” – it’s not going to be a particular service or site, it’s going to be a fundamental shift in the way we interact with the web.

During the last session of day I participated in a panel called How to Internally Market Semantic Web Technologies in Large Enterprises. I don’t have nearly as much experience as the other members of the panel, but I had a very different perspective because most of the others are engineers, and although we have all had similar struggles with stakeholders, I’ve worked more closely with designers and usability experts and so the resistance I tend to meet has more to do with UI and less to do with technology. I hope that this different perspective brought some additional insights to the panel discussion. If nothing else, at one point I made most of the people in the room crack up. So, on that count at least, I consider it to have been a success.

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