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Semantic Technologies


According to a recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers report, “Semantic Web technologies could revolutionize enterprise decision making and information sharing”. By connecting more flexible, standardized ways to model and share data with best practices for identifying the meaning (or, at the very least, the source) of descriptive terms, Semantic Web technologies open up new possibilities for developing applications that work across the web or behind your firewall. In this course, we’ll learn about the building blocks of the Semantic Web such as the RDF data model, the RDFa version that lets you embed machine-readable facts (or “triples”) into web pages, the SPARQL query language, and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) for defining vocabularies and term relationships. We’ll also learn about the open source and commercial software that lets you you assemble these building blocks into applications that help you get more out of your own data and out of the increasing amount of available “linked” data on the public web.

Classes for 2009

The Semantic Web: an Overview

Taught by Bob DuCharme.

The Semantic Web is a set of standards and best practices for sharing data and the semantics of that data over the web for use by applications. What are the standards? What are the best practices? What does it mean to share semantics along with data, and how can that make the data more useful? How do applications use data from across the web?

In this class, we’ll look at the high-level answers to these questions, take a tour of the the technology and the acronyms, and see how they all fit together before the day’s remaining speakers dig deeper into the practical use of these technologies.

Introduction to Linked Data

Taught by Leigh Dodds.

Linked Data is a set of principles for publishing data across the public web to maximise its potential for reuse. An increasingly large amount of data is being published using these guidelines, across a number of disciplines and industries, ranging from crowd-sourced data (e.g. dbpedia), media outlets (e.g. the BBC) and the US and UK governments. As momentum builds across the Linked Data approach to data publishing, more publishers and developers are exploring how to share their data in this way, and wondering how to make use of the existing resources to create new applications or enrich existing resources. In this class we’ll learn how to publish Linked Data taking a best practices approach, as well as looking out how to consume linked data that has already been published. The lessons will be illustrated using the Talis Platform and some open source Linked Data browsers.


Taught by Andy Seaborne.

SPARQL is the standard W3C query language for semantic web applications. It has brought together the experience of a number of RDF query languages into a method for extracting information from data represented in RDF, from small to large.

This session will provide a solid grounding in SPARQL. After demonstrating how powerful some very simple SPARQL queries can be, we will take a practical approach to looking at the key features and then explore the principles underpinning the SPARQL query language. After a practical session, we will finish by looking at SPARQL implementations and seeing where the language will evolve.

Ontologies, OWL and Protégé

Taught by Duncan Hull.

This session will introduce ontologies and the W3C Web Ontology Language (OWL) using the Open Source Protégé editor With examples, we will demonstrate the added value of semantic metadata to reason with and automatically classify knowledge in more intelligent ways. We will also describe where OWL fits in with related semantic web standards and linked data on the Web.


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