My Blog

Trends and Transients


Each year there are more new technologies to keep track of, more ways to organise your life and your company’s information, more ways to communicate. This session will introduce you to new technologies, discuss older, under-appreciated technologies, and entertain you at the same time. Our expert speakers will debate current issues and technologies, giving you the benefit of their wide experience and differing points of view, so you can decide for yourself which technologies will meet your needs and which are a waste of your time.

Classes for 2011

DITA, S1000D, and other Challenges in Technical Information Management

Taught by Joe Gollner.

This session will look at the state of the art in technical information management and explore the different ways that XML is being leveraged. Specific attention will be directed towards introducing and evaluating two standards that have arisen to prominence in this domain – S1000D and the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). Associated with each standard are a number of practices that have proven consistently useful and that can be productively deployed in other industries. There are also a number of challenges associated with each standard that reoccur with disturbing frequency and that merit further inquiry by all those with a stake in implementations that are both effective and sustainable. Recent case studies will be used to foreground the business context within which the evaluation of these standards can be meaningfully conducted. The session will conclude a discussion of the more general themes stirred up during the evaluation of S1000D and DITA within the context of real projects.

Mobile is not The Future (It’s Now)

Taught by Jo Rabin.

Google says that their mobile traffic grew more than four times in a year and that already over 15% of their traffic comes from mobile in many categories of search, substantially more in some. That’s one in seven searches, and is continuing to rise. How many companies put one seventh of their resources into mobile? We will take a look at current analysis and trends in the mobile arena, why it’s important to have a strategy and why mobile needs a different approach to traditional Web delivery. We will survey the latest thinking as to how to approach the challenge of mobile and open the lid on some specific questions, such as Web vs Apps, how to address the vast range of device capabilities and more … Warning: everything is moving very fast and while the answers are emerging they are changing too – what’s clear is that the time to engage is now!


Open Data in Action

Taught by Tim Davies.

The last three years have seen a dramatic growth in the attention paid to open data, with governments, charities and companies all exploring how open data can drive innovation, accountability, economic benefit and the transformation of services. This talk will briefly explore the history of open data, unpicking the different trends that have got us to where we are today, before looking at what open data is, and taking a practical look at ways different organisations and individuals are creating and using open data. Using case studies from the Open Data Cook Book, AidInfoLabs and a range of other projects the talk will identify opportunities and challenges for using open data. There will be a bit of XML, plenty of CSV, a sprinkling of linked data, but strictly no PDFs.

Applying XML and semantic technologies to liberate infectious disease data

Taught by Professor David Shotton

Despite the significant medical advances of the second half of the Twentieth Century, infectious diseases continue to ravage tropical countries, which have limited access to the scientific literature that would assist them in combating disease. This talk will illustrate how open publishing using XML and semantic web technologies can liberate information from biomedical research journals, currently locked behind the subscription barriers of commercial publishers, for the benefit of health-care professionals worldwide. Topics covered will include semantic publishing – the semantic enrichment of on-line XML journal articles employing the SPAR (Semantic Publishing and Referencing) Ontologies, providing bibliographic references as Open Linked Data, and creating easy-to-use Web-based metadata entry forms based on XML models and minimal information standards, in order to create structured digital abstracts summarizing infectious disease journal articles in both human- and machine-readable form, that can be published in instant access data journals and as open linked data, for free use.

Faculty Lightning Talks (after dinner)

Our Faculty members work on many different projects and have a large range of interests. In this session, some of them will introduce you to these interesting projects. We will use the ignite format (5 minutes, 20 slides, slides are automatically advanced) with short breaks between each talk. Expect a lively session!