First issue of Nodalities Magazine out today

Talis launched Nodalities Magazine a free Semantic Web publication that aims to bridge the divide between those building the Semantic Web and those interested in applying it to their business requirements.

click to download

The first issue contains a wonderful interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, in which the Father of the Web talks about his vision for the Semantic Web and its adoption. There’s also a great piece by Mills Davis of Project10X, who describes how he thinks Web 3.0 differs from the previous incarnations of the web. My colleague Tom Heath talks about the importance of Linked Data. There’s loads more in the magazine including an article written by me about Talis Engage an Enterprise product we developed on the Talis Platform.

Please have a read and let me know what you think ๐Ÿ™‚

Ian Davis presents the Talis Platform at KMI

My colleague, Ian Davis, visited the Knowledge Media Institute yesterday to present his talk on The Talis Platform: A Generic Infrastructure for the Next Generation of Web Applications to their research group. Here’s the short synopsis for the talk:

The Talis Platform provides a generic infrastructure for building data-rich Web and Semantic Web applications. By taking care of the “heavy lifting” associated with data management and storage, developers are freed up to concentrate on building applications using the Platform’s APIs and services. In this presentation I will outline the problems the Platform is attempting to solve, describe the principles on which our approach is based, and ground these in trends such as “Software as a Service”. The capabilities of the Platform will be illustrated through demos of Platform services for mashing up heterogeneous data and providing faceted querying over data sets. I’ll wrap up the talk by describing how members of the audience can use the Platform to support their own applications, and help shape its future development.

Ian is a great guy, and is very much the driving force behind our vision for what the platform should be. The talk is only thirty minutes long but he gives a valuable insight into what we are doing and hopefully what we are trying to achieve. If your interested in finding out about what we do and why we are doing it then watch the talk.

Semantic Desktop, PIM’s and Personal Ontology’s

A Semantic Desktop is a means to manage all personal information across application … all ร‚ยป borders based on Semantic Web standards. It acts as an extended personal memory assisting users to file, relate, share, and access all digital information like documents, multimedia, and messages through a Personal Information Model (PIMO). This PIMO is build on ontological knowledge generated through user observations and interactions and may be seen as a formal and semi-formal complement of the user’s mental models. Thus it reflects experience and typical user behavior and may be processed by a computer in order to provide proactive and adaptive information support or allows personalized semantic search. The Semantic Desktop is build on a middle ware platform allowing to combine information and native applications like the file-system, Mozilla, Thunderbird or MS-Outlook. In this talk I will show how machine learning techniques may be used to support the generation of a PIMO. I will further introduce the main concepts, components, and functionalities of the Semantic Desktop, and give examples which show how the Semantic Desktop may become

I was very interested, and a little amused, when I came across this tech talk earlier this week. The talk echoed many of the ideas and points that Alan has been talking to me about recently around the whole idea of using Personal Ontology’s to provide context for applications. It’s a research area he’s particularly interested in and I’m very very excited about the prospect of working with him to develop some of his ideas using the Semantic Web Platform we’ve been building at Talis.

Alan has collaborated on papers on this subject which you can find here. Although the paper on Task Centered Information Management resonates the most with some of the ideas presented in the tech talk.

More semantic web ramblings over a curry …

This is turning into a habit ๐Ÿ™‚ My colleague, Keith Alexander, is in town this week and staying at a fancy hotel in the city centre. He’s not familiar with brum so I agreed to show him around a little and grab a bite to eat. After the briefest tour of Birmingham city centre in history we decided to find somewhere to eat and ended up at Festival Balti in the Arcadian Centre.

We spent ages talking about various semantic web related issues most of which revolved around the sorts of the things we’d like to use the Talis Platform for as well as talking about the sort of features we’d like to see in the platform, the current limitations in our api’s but the upcoming features that will address these limitations. We talked about the applications we are building and how they are converging onto similar technology stacks, opening up the prospect of more discrete component reuse.

Our discussion also ranged from comparisons between Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous and Morville’s Ambient Findability,  to the very nature or vision Semantic Search. We talked about how useful Microformat’s could be and the benefits as well as the problems with current initiatives being undertaken within the FireFox community to build Microformat detection directly into FireFox 3

With reference to search I think we both agreed that the future of search lay in addressing the current problem with Google Search, the fact that the search does not take the user’s context into account. We came up with some ideas about how we might be able to capture this information. We talked about how RDF lends itself to being able to merge together data from heterogeneous domains and why this might be the most appropriate medium through which to achieve this.

I’ve only touched on the diverse subjects we talked about but one thing did stand out – how much Keith knows about the semantic web! It’s a passion of his and it’s something he’s been blogging about over at

I can’t help but reflect on the fact  that  our development group at Talis comprises of a group of individuals who are extremely passionate about this particular topic or problem space, whether or not they have been drawn together by design or pure chance (our HR team may take exception to that :p), the fact remains that we have brought together and incredibly talented group of people that really want to solve these problems and develop something that is… well for want of a better word … incredible.

It all reminds me of something G.W.F Hegel once wrote:

“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion”