CfP: Real-time and Ubiquitous Social Semantics

Fabien Gandon (INRIA), Harith Alani (KMI) and myself are co-editing a special issue on “Real-time and Ubiquitous Social Semantics” for new the Semantic Web Journal. The call for paper and important dates are as follow, and available here as a pdf file. We’re looking forward for many interesting submissions on the topic !

In the past few years, the Web has increasingly shifted from its initial document and librarian paradigm to an ecology of socially-generated data and services. Websites such as Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, etc. emphasise the huge popularity of sharing information in real-time. In addition, the wealth and breadth of applications that exploit open social networking APIs to provide new services and functionalities are growing rapidly, enabling new ways to interact and browse this user-generated content.

At the same time, the deployment of network-enabled mobile devices, RFID and sensors, is realising the ubiquitous nature of social networks. More objects of our everyday life are getting connected to the Internet to become part of its applications, including the Web and social networking services. We are only starting to contemplate the potential of a wide Internet of things, but it is certain that in that new augmentation of our reality, the Semantic Web will be one of the cornerstones of interoperability.

Advances in the Semantic Web and Linked Data realms offer new capabilities for such paradigms, ranging from data integration to knowledge representation for such social data, objects, and service descriptions. However, many challenges remain to be addressed such as scalability, reasoning in dynamic contexts, quality and provenance, privacy and security, multi-modal accesses, context capture and awareness, etc. Nevertheless, Semantic Web frameworks provide the means to support the architecture of such real-time social and ubiquitous platforms.

In this special issue, we seek contributions that tackle the issues of real-time and ubiquitous Social Semantics. In particular, we expect contributions addressing the following topics:

  • From raw social data to semantic data

    • semantic grounding of raw social data
    • generation and aggregation of social semantics
    • ontologies and data models for social data representation and analysis
    • real-time semantic mining and analysis of social data
    • trends and dynamics in social semantic web
    • capturing and representing context in social networking
  • Ubiquitous Web and social semantics
    • integration of virtual and physical worlds
    • integration tools, technologies, and platforms
    • privacy, ethics, and confidentiality
    • presence tracking and semantic augmentation
    • semantic sensors and RFID
    • social semantics on mobile devices
  • Real-time querying frameworks and languages for social data
    • stream querying and reasoning on social data
    • location or time based reasoning, context based reasoning
    • querying volatile, moving and dynamic networks and data sources
    • dynamics, changesets and push-based notifications
    • scalability, approximate reasoning and querying in social applications
    • provenance and quality for querying social data


We solicit high-quality contributions addressing one or more of the aforementioned topics. Submissions should clearly address how they relate to the topic of this special issue (more than “potential” use-cases) and how the contribution enhances the state of the art in its particular domain. We especially welcome papers dealing with real data, description of deployed systems, and discussions on related experiments and methodology.

Papers must be submitted using the journal guidelines available at http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/authors. Upon submission on mstracker, the authors should mention “Social Semantics Special Issue” in the cover letter of their article. In addition, authors must keep in mind that the journal relies on an open and transparent review process and that their paper(s) will be available online during the review process. We suggest the authors to carefully check details of the review process at http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/reviewers#review.

Important dates

Submissions:
12th of September
Reviews due:
31st of October
Camera-ready version:
28th of November
Online Publication:
February 2011
Printed Publication:
March 2011

SPOT2009 Proceedings

I’m happy to announce that the proceedings of the upcoming ESWC2009 Worshop on Trust and Privacy on the Social and Semantic Web (SPOT2009) have just been published via CEUR-WS (ISSN: 1613-0073) on Vol-447.

The proceedings include the 9 papers that have been selected for the workshop (from a total of 16 submissions – a big thanks to all the PC members for their work !) as well as the abstract of the keynote that will be given by Prof. Piero Bonatti and a workshop preface. This is the opportunity to read them before the event in order to engage discussions at the workshop if you’ll attend it. In any case you will get an overview of recent research trends on the topic, papers varying from theoretical approaches to software implementations on the topics of trust and privacy on the (Social and Semantic) Web.

SDoW2008: Program and proceedings

The program of SDoW2008 has just been published on the workshop website. In addition to the 7 full papers, 2 short papers and 2 demos, there will be two keynotes: the first one by Peter Mika on “Semantic Search and the Social Web” and the second one by Harry Halpin entitled “Beyond Walled Gardens: Open Standards for the Social Web”. Attending TPAC this week, I can tell that the second one is really a hot-topic: there were some discussions yesterday in the SWIG group meeting, two related lightning talks today, and an upcoming “Workshop on the Future of Social Networking” lead by the W3C Mobile Web Initiative.

The SDoW proceedings were also officially published today on CEUR-WS, volume 405:
http://CEUR-WS.org/Vol-405. If you’re attending the workshop, consider reading it before, as it might help Q/A and discussions. There will also be a lightnight talk session, so that any attendee will be able to present his works / ideas regarding Social Web and the Semantic Web.

Social, mobile, semantic

Monday’s DBpedia mobile presentation at LDOW2008 impressed me a lot. Actually, while I never worked on it, I’m really interested in ways to combine mobile applications, Semantic Web / Linked Data technologies and social networking. Here’s a use case I have in mind for a long time and I’d like to share.

Imagine in can embed a FOAF profile on my mobile phone, or just an URI with owl:sameAs / rdfs:seeAlso links to my main URI / RDF file. When joining a conference, a restaurant or any place where there are some people (and when I’m in a good mood), I allow my phone to deliver my presence and this URI (+ related data) to anyone, while at the same time searching for available URIs and data.

Then, I got a list of URIs, and my phone will suggest me that there’s some people nearby that I must meet regarding some criterias and how our URIs are interlinked. A simple way would be to configure the application with kind of (statement, depth) tuples. For example (foaf:interest, 2) would suggest me all people where one of my foaf:interest is link to one of their foaf:interest with a maximum path of 2. And of course, those paths should be computed using Linked Data and considering the whole SW graph, or GGG, e.g. going through DBpedia, GeoNames of any dataset from the LOD cloud if needed.

But, in some case, paths are not enough, as they can result to unrelevant results (depending on the start URI the path may quickly go towards too generic URIs), or sometimes too much people. For example, at a SW event, I guess it would have suggest me to meet anything since I have dbpedia:Semantic_Web in my profile. A solution could be to have an intelligent context manager in the mobile phone that will check my iCal, find that I’m attending a workshop (or even better, use GPS location, browse upcoming.org or other services to find which event I’m attending), retrieve the workshop homepage in which organizers embedded some RDF data about topics of the workshops (as they eat their own dogfood :), and exclude those URIs (and paths that goes through). To be more accurate, instead of those path tuples, I could also define complex queries, as for example: “People that will present some paper at a conference I’ll attend next month”.
Actually, it’s just a matter of providing all the data, open it, and of course, interlink. But well, “Linked Data is the Semantic Web done as it should be. It is the Web done as it should be”, no ?

Using the foaf:openid property

A nice feature of the foaf:openid property is that it helps to retrieve the unique foaf:Agent associated to an OpenID URI, since its an owl:InverseFunctionalProperty.

When I wrote PHOAF, I have to deal with the question of identifying who was the main subject of a FOAF profile (either a Person or a Group) in order to get links to their homepage, depiction…

In most of people’s files, thanks to foaf-o-matic, there’s foaf:PersonalProfileDocument + foaf:primaryTopic so that’s quite easy. Yet, if there’s not such property, I used this kind of rule:

  • if there’s only one person in the file, he should be the main subject of the profile;
  • if there’s more than one person, and no group in the profile, the main topic should be the one that do not have anyone linking to him with foaf:knows;
  • yet, there should be some cases when it cannot be solved.

Now, using the foaf:openid property and authenticating with OpenID – plus retrieving the FOAF profile associated with that URI – solves this with a single SPARQL query:

select ?who
where {
  ?who foaf:openid <openid_uri>
}

More than a way to solve people ambiguity in a profile, FOAF + OpenID also offers nice views regarding decentralized identity management. Trust an OpenID provider for authentication, but store all your personal informations in your FOAF profile.

Retrieving FOAF profile from OpenID

Following Dan Brickley’s experiments, I’ve just setup an OpenID plug-in for this weblog, allowing anyone to register using OpenID, since users now need to register to comment.

Actually, one of the reason I installed it is that I thaught it would be an easy way to retrieve a FOAF profile for any registered user on this weblog. I’m using auto-discovery to get it from the OpenID URL. I don’t know if there’s any OpenID provider that have such a feature, but it can easilly be done if you’re delegating your OpenID to your own webpage, by adding the auto-discovery line in the header of your OpenID URL (check the source of this page if needed). BTW, WP users, here’s another plugin that helps to delegate your OpenID to your weblog.

The method I used to retrieve the profile is the following:

function fetch_foaf_profile($url) {
  $html = file_get_contents($url);
  preg_match_all('/<head.*<link.*rel="meta".*title="foaf".*href="(.*)".*/>.*</head>/Usi', $html, $links);
  if($links) {
    if($foaf = $links[1][0]) {
      $ex = parse_url($foaf);
      if($ex['scheme']) return $foaf;
      elseif(substr($ex['path'], 0, 1) == '/') {
        $ex = parse_url($url);
        return $ex['scheme'].'://'.$ex['host'].$foaf;
      }
      else return $url.$foaf;
    }
  }
  return null;
}

Then, the profile is added to wp_usermeta table. The complete svn diff for the latest version of the plug-in is available here.

So, now that I can have FOAF profiles for users, I’ll be able to experiment the FOAF-avatar idea I had a long time ago. Other steps would be to combine people URIs with Morten Frederiksen’s FOAF output plugin (cannot find how to make it work with WP2.3) , using owl:sameAs to link users’ URIs created from this weblog to their profiles URI, and also to use it in the SIOC output plugin.

Regarding social networking Dan is talking about, I think that would be a great way answer questions as: do people commenting this blog already know themself in the SemWeb world ? Are they friends re. their FOAF profile ? re. Facebook ? Do they share interests ?

So, If you have FOAF and OpenID connected thanks to auto-discovery, I’ll be happy you try it so that I can start experimenting some of these ideas.

Update: The script now also retrieve SIOC profile if available.

New query interfaces for browsing SIOC data

I’ve recently added new queries (and associated interfaces) to my triple-store-based SIOC browser[1], in order to present what SIOC can be used for.

The first one is quite similar to the tagcloud feature (which creates a tagcloud of topics, as Technorati does but using sioc:topic property to get topics / categories): it displays a 3D pie of the ten most popular topics, using the PHP/SWF Charts API.

The second one uses the user aspect of SIOC. It has recently been decided to use both foaf:Person and sioc:User to represent creator of a sioc:Post when exporting data, while using only FOAF for unregistered users (i.e. comments on most weblog engines). This means that every Post (whether is it an original post or a reply) is linked to a foaf:User. Then, we can create mappings and relationships between posts and users, eventually smushing data using foaf:mbox_sha1sum if users use different nicknames but same e-mail in different blogs. So, this second query displays relationships beetween users within a set of decentralized SIOC-ed blogs that have been put in the same store. Two users are connected as soon as one replied to another, providing a way to discover people you’ve got in common (sometimes without knowing it !). The Prefuse API have been used to draw the network.

This FOAF/SIOC feature that links users to post have been recently introduced in exporters (WordPress, DotClear, b2evo) and in the PHP API. So, if you use an old version of one of this exporter, update it! These new versions also provide mappings between SIOC, FOAF and DC, and removed depracates some properties (see latest ontology specs). At the moment, I only store blogs that use the latest exporters in the store, so that all of them will be taken into accout in browsing interfaces, as the SPARQL queries refer to latest specs.

Finally, some of these exporting and browsing features will be presented in an upcoming talk at BlogTalk Reloaded, with the paper “SIOC Browser – Towards a Richer Blog Browsing Experience” co-written with John Breslin and Uldis Bojars. I’ll also be involved in a talk for the paper “Folksonomies, Ontologies and Corporate Blogging”, co-written with Philippe Laublet and Jean-David Sta, introducing an approach – using SIOC – that mix folksonomies and ontologies I dealt with in my PhD work.

So, once again, don’t hesitate to use SIOC exporters on your blog / forums if available (or write one with the API !) and get listed here !

Notes

[1] Implementation details here