Semantic Technologies: Which Way Now – outputs and activities

Rather belatedly we have finally found time to synthesise the outputs of the “Semantic Technologies: Which Way Now” event CETIS hosted at the University of Strathclyde at the beginning of December. All the presentations from the event are available from the wiki page and you can read Sheila’s liveblog from the day here.

Based on the discussions that took place throughout the event we have identified the following activities that could potentially be taken forward by JISC and CETIS.

1. Briefing paper
There is considerable ambiguity regarding the use of terminology in this space, particularly among those who are less familiar with the semantic technology domain. There was general agreement that it would be useful to attempt to disambiguate some of this terminology including: Semantic Web, semantic technologies, linked data, linkable data and open data with relevant examples where possible and to identify the role that different standards play in this domain.

Output
A short CETIS briefing paper targeted at the teaching and learning community and referencing the forthcoming JISC Linked Data Horizon Scan. This briefing paper could be supplemented by a Delicious page linking to a collection of relevant resources.

2. Business cases
Based on the outputs of the JISC SemTech project, the Linked Data Horizon Scan and other relevant resources, develop a series of business cases for institutional senior managers and information systems directors outlining the potential benefits of investing time and developing expertise in exposing semantic data.

Output
Business cases for senior managers and IS directors.

3. Tools and services
Develop tools, applications and services for consuming and manipulating existing linked data sources to show how they might benefit the domain of teaching and learning and to demonstrate how the business cases identified by Activity 2 might be addressed. E.g. a linked directory of teaching expertise as an exemplar of the sort of service that could be built from foaf and doap.

Output
Tools and services for consuming and manipulating existing linked data sources.

4. Affordances for curriculum design and course approval
Exploration of the affordances of linked data within institutions to facilitate a number of institutional processes including curriculum design and course description. Identify areas in the course approval process where open and or linkable data could be exploited. There may be potential to work with existing programmes and initiatives such as Curriculum Design and XCRI to start exploring affordances and barriers in this area and possibly to begin scoping requirements for XCRI phase 2.

5. Developer events
One or more technical events, possibly similar to Google’s summer of code, open to developers, and students, to produce implementations and resources relevant to education based on open and linked data. These activities could potentially be developed around existing JISC and Talis events.

Outputs
Demonstrators, proof of concept implementations, etc.

We would welcome feedback on these or indeed other activities so please post comments below. CETIS will continue to explore the domains of semantic technologies, open and linked date with a view to facilitating further working groups in this area. We’ll look forward to hearing from you!