May 2008


I had initially intended to write regularly during the conference – but was just too engaged. Then I thought I’d work up a summary of all the interesting things I’d jotted down while there. A week later, I’m still catching up. I’ll come back soon with something more traditional, but in the meantime, here’s a poetic commentary describing one takeaway from the conference:

The wheel was invented circa 4000 BC, and has become one of the world's most famous, and most useful technologies.  This wheel is on display in The National Museum of Iran, in Tehran.Image via Wikipedia

For those of you who know me well,
its not
all about the wiki.
And I often say the things I do,
not (always) to be tricky.

Instead, my mind is doing things
that mix and twist and blend.
Now I come to see that this
will be a needed trend.

Spreadsheets are still my favorite
way of keeping track,
but delicious is what I often use
when I know I’ll want to go back.

People, groups and companies
go on their merry way,
not thinking through possibilities
of how and what to say.

There are the things they think they do,
and things they think we need.
What our real objectives are,
they often do not heed.

Perhaps we are not telling them,
if that’s our role to play.
The key for them is to make
what we actually need today.

So in order to get from here to there
and make the value clear,
they need to translate about their tools
which for some’s too near and dear.

Talis’ Paul Miller just posted about a panel he moderated on facilitating ‘unexpected re-use’ of data, during which participants discussed ways they’ve seen their work having created “unanticipated opportunities to push data in new directions”. I wasn’t present, and this may have been part of that discussion, but as interesting as the “push” he mentions (and perhaps even more in keeping with the ultimate goal, if there is such a thing) would be the “pull” of data to unanticipated purposes and by unexpected parties – and the opportunities to do so.

It makes sense that the “push” perspective is being discussed within the development and evangelist perspectives. Paul points out that the discussion emphasized (as I’ve also done here in the past) that adoption (by investors, companies and end users) is not driven by applications being semantic or based upon semantic technologies, but by their addressing and solving real needs. That perspective is typically driven by the end user and by those who look to enable and capitalize upon addressing their real needs in terms that resonate with them.

Not only would it be “interesting to repeat the experience [of his panel] at… business-oriented event[s] such as next week’s Semantic Technology or Linked Data Planet in June” – but this is exactly what is necessary to begin to bridge from the former perspective to the latter – to help people begin to understand and start to formulate where those opportunities to “pull” may lie.

Bridging this gap is the objective of the session I’ve organized for next week’s Semantic Technology Conference (posted about previously) – to paint the spectrum of a the financial domain and examine application of semantic technologies within needs and processes within its sub-domains. Through this effort, we’ll hopefully thinking and discussion across the lines of the sub-sectors, and foster thought around cross utilization and new ways to make use.

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