DataPortability and Me: Introducing SIOC, FOAF and the Semantic Web
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DataPortability and Me: Introducing SIOC, FOAF and the Semantic Web



DataPortability Lunch Meetup / London / 6th April 2008

DataPortability Lunch Meetup / London / 6th April 2008



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    DataPortability and Me: Introducing SIOC, FOAF and the Semantic Web DataPortability and Me: Introducing SIOC, FOAF and the Semantic Web Presentation Transcript

    • DataPortability and Me Introducing SIOC, FOAF and the Semantic Web John Breslin DataPortability Lunch Meetup in London 6 th April 2008
    • So many social media sites… * Source: Smashcut Media,
    • Even more services…
    • It takes a lot of time…
    • Filling out your profiles, re-adding your friends…
    • Uploading posts and content items to “stovepipes”!
    • Social media sites are like data silos * Source: Pidgin Technologies,
    • Many isolated communities of users and their data * Source: Pidgin Technologies,
    • Need ways to connect these islands * Source: Pidgin Technologies,
    • Allowing users to easily move from one to another * Source: Pidgin Technologies,
    • Enabling users to easily bring their data with them * Source: Pidgin Technologies,
    • What if I use multiple services and I want to…
      • Move the stuff I have on one service to another (e.g. move all my blog posts, comments, friends, etc. from to “Acme Blogs”)
      • Move all my stuff from multiple services to one third-party service
      • Centralise my stuff on my own service, e.g. my blog
      • See my stuff on a third-party service providing an aggregate view, like FriendFeed
      • Need data portability!
    • (De-)centralised me
    • … that connect you to other people
      • Discussions
      • Bookmarks
      • Annotations
      • Profiles
      • Microblogs
      • Multimedia
      Control your data: these are the social objects…
    • The philosophy of DataPortability
      • As users, our identity, photos, videos and other forms of personal data should be discoverable by, and shared between our chosen (and trusted) tools or vendors
      • We need a DHCP for identity, a distributed file system for data
      • The technologies already exist, we simply need a complete reference design to put the pieces together
    • The mission of DataPortability
      • To put all existing technologies and initiatives in context to create a reference design for end-to-end data portability
      • To promote that design to the developer, vendor and end-user community
    • The phases of DataPortability
      • Foundation
      • Invitation
      • Investigation / Research
      • Design / Documentation
      • Evangelise
    • Using existing technologies, inventing no new ones
    • Other initiatives “near” DataPortability
    • Social networking fatigue
      • How many general or niche SNSs are you willing to register and / or interact with?
      • People search engine and aggregation sites are now appearing to compensate:
        • SocialURL – organise your online identities
        • PeekYou – matching web pages with their owners
        • Spock – organising information around people
        • Rapleaf – reputation lookup and email search
        • Wink – free people search engine
        • FriendFeed – subscribe to all of your friends’ feeds
    • Social network portability and reusability
      • Need distributed social networks and reusable profiles
      • Users may have many identities and sets of friends on different social networks, where each identity was created from scratch
      • Allow user to import existing profile and contacts, using a single global identity with different views (e.g. via FOAF, XFN / hCard, OpenID, etc.)
      • See also:
    • Semantics can help
      • By using agreed-upon semantic formats to describe people, content objects and the connections that bind them all together , social media sites can interoperate by appealing to common semantics
      • Developers are already using semantic technologies to augment the ways in which they create, reuse, and link profiles and content on social media sites (using FOAF, XFN / hCard, SIOC, etc.)
      • In the other direction, object-centered social networks can serve as rich data sources for semantic applications
    • The Semantic Web for dummies
      • XML customised tags, like:
        • <dog>Nena</dog>
      • + RDF relations, in triples, like:
        • (Nena) (is_dog_of) (Kimiko/Stefan)
      • + Ontologies / hierarchies of concepts, like:
        • mammal -> canine -> Cotton de Tulear -> Nena
      • + Inference rules like:
        • If (person) (owns) (dog), then (person) (cares_for) (dog)
      • = Semantic Web!
      * Sources: Text by Stefan Marti; Picture by Duncan Hull
    • FOAF (Friend-of-a-Friend)
      • FOAF is an ontology for describing people and the relationships that exist between them
      • Can be integrated with any other SW vocabularies
      • Some services with FOAF exports:
      • People can also create their own FOAF document and link to it from their homepage
      • FOAF documents usually contain personal info, links to friends, and other related resources
    • Integrating social networks with FOAF for reuse Common formats, unique URIs * Source: Sheila Kinsella, Applications of Social Network Analysis 2007
    • SIOC (Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities)
      • A schema for representing users, forums, posts and threads, containers, and other items in online community sites, for reuse and interoperability:
        • Aims to fully describe the structure of content in these sites
        • Also to create new connections between forums and posts from different types of discussion systems (blogs, forums, mailing lists, etc.) and content items / containers on Web 2.0 sites
        • And to browse connected posts and channels in interesting ways (e.g. distributed linked conversations, decentralised discussion channels and communities, etc.)
    • Quotes about SIOC
      • “ I […] think the concept is HOT” – Robert Douglass, Drupal Developer
      • “ It just dawned on me that the burgeoning SIOC-o-sphere (online communities exporting and exposing content via SIOC Ontology) is actually: Blogosphere 2.0” – Kingsley Idehen, Founder and CEO of OpenLink Software
      • “ SIOC has the potential to become one of the foundational vocabularies that make Semantic Web applications useful” – Ivan Herman, W3C / ERCIM
      • “ A project that started back in 2000 called Friend-of-a-Friend (FOAF) represents relationships between people, as well as basic contact details. SIOC does this for groups: it extends the FOAF idea to being able to talk about whole groups of people. I am excited about SIOC because you can use that information to determine trust, to let people in.” – Tim Berners-Lee, Creator of the World Wide Web
    • The SIOC RDF ontology (important terms)
    • SIOC and other ontologies
    • Using SIOC and FOAF to represent portable data
      • SIOC metadata exporters have been created for open-source / commercial discussion systems and popular Web 2.0 sites:
        • b2evolution, Dotclear, Drupal, phpBB, WordPress, mailing lists, IRC, Twitter, Jaiku, aggregators, OpenLink Data Spaces, Talis Engage, etc.
      • Easy-to-use APIs have been produced for writing your own SIOC applications in PHP, Ruby on Rails and Java
      • As well as nearly 20 academic papers about SIOC and a W3C member submission ( ), easy-to-read documentation and usage examples are available :
      • SIOC aims to infect the Web infrastructure:
        • During next upgrade cycle gigabytes of community data become available!
      Getting traction for SIOC
    • SIOC in use (~50 implementations, applications)
      • We have lots of producers of SIOC data, but now we need to build more applications that can consume it, like this WordPress importer:
        • Just as WordPress can import blog entries from various blogging systems, the SIOC importer can import any discussion posts represented in SIOC (forum posts, mail messages, IRC chats)
    • Porting social media contributions from data providers to import services
    • Join the DataPortability and SIOC projects!
    • Ownership, control, freedom at