Author Archives for Fran

This time it’s personal data – Indiverses and Personal APIs

June 5, 2013 5:10 pm Published by 5 Comments

Sooner or later I was bound to find some other Semanticists in Canada and on Thursday I attended a Semantic Web meetup in Montreal. The audience was small, but that led to more of a group discussion atmosphere than a formal talk. The presenter, Dr Joan Yess Kahn, has coined the term Indiverse – Individual Information Universe – to facilitate her thinking about the set of personal information and data that we accumulate through our lives. She pointed out that some of this information is created by us, some about us, some with our knowledge and consent, some without, and... Read more »


Tagging the cart before the horse – Getting your project plan in order

May 11, 2013 2:28 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When people launch search improvement or information organziation projects, one of the commonest mistakes is to be over-eager to “just get the content indexed or tagged” without spending enough time and thought on the structure of an index, what should be tagged, and how the tags themselves should be structured. This typically happens for two reasons: 1. The project managers – often encouraged by service providers who just want to get their hands on the cheque – simply underestimate the amount of preparatory work involved, whether it is structuring and testing a taxonomy, setting up and checking automated concept extaction... Read more »


ISKO UK 2013 – provisional programme

April 13, 2013 8:31 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

I will probably be on the other side of the Atlantic when the ISKO UK conference takes place in July in London, UK. I will be sorry to miss it, because the committee have brought together a diverse, topical, and fascinating collection of speakers. ISKO UK excels in unifying academic and practitioner communities, and the conference promises to investigate the barriers that separate research from practice and to seek out boundary objects that can bring the communities together. This is demonstrated in person by the keynote speakers Patrick Lambe of Straits Knowledge and Martin White of Intranet Focus Ltd –... Read more »


Now you tell me! – Information at the right time

March 3, 2013 12:57 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

My posts have been a bit thin on the ground this year because I have just relocated from the UK to Canada, to start a new job. This has been a lot of fun, but hard work. The process has made me acutely aware of the problems of delivering information at the time when it is the most useful. This is often overlooked in information and knowledge management, but getting the timing wrong can render extremely valuable information almost worthless if it is forgotten, lost, or misunderstood. Knowledge takes time When I started my previous job, it was a new... Read more »


Tag you’re it – but is your tag the same as my tag?

January 6, 2013 11:31 am Published by 2 Comments

Lots of people talk about tags, and they all tend to assume they mean the same thing. However, there are lots of different types of tag from HTML tags for marking up web pages to labels in databases and this can lead to all sorts of confusion and problems in projects. Here are some definitions of “tag” that I’ve heard and that are different in significant ways. If you think my definitions can be improved, please comment, and please let me know of any other usages of that tricksy little word “tag” that you’ve happened upon.  1) A tag is... Read more »


Libraries, Media, and the Semantic Web meetup at the BBC

December 2, 2012 6:51 am Published by Leave your thoughts

In a bit of a blog cleanup, I discovered this post languishing unpublished. The event took place earlier this year but the videos of the presentations are still well worth watching. It was an excellent session with short but highly informative talks by some of the smartest people currently working in the semantic web arena. The Videos of the event are available on You Tube. Historypin Jon Voss of Historypin was a true “information altruist”, describing libraries as a “radical idea”. The concept that people should be able to get information for free at the point of access, paid for... Read more »


Local is the new social – location data startups

October 7, 2012 12:43 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

A few weeks ago I attended an event by Dreamstake featuring a collection of startup companies that are using open geographical data – such as the data released by Ordnance Survey. There was much championing of the possibilities of much money to be made by using data that organisations release for free. This seems obvious to me – someone else has paid to do all the preparatory work so others can cash in. No-one seems concerned about the ethics of this. If UK taxpayers have paid for the OS work to be done, should they not automatically be shareholders in... Read more »


Mapping the transhuman

September 7, 2012 5:10 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Last night I popped in to “We are all a cyborg” an event as part of the Wellcome Collection’s Superhuman exhibition. It covered the history of human enhancement from ancient Egyptian prosthetic toes to visions of a transhuman future of hybrid bioengineered-human-machines. The relationship between society, the individual and the aesthetics of the “normal” was explored too. I was also drawn to the themes of embodiedness of cognition by an artwork in which the artist had built extensions to her fingertips to enable her to experience a greater area of space. By altering the physical confines of the body, how... Read more »


The Shape of Knowledge – review of ISKOUK event

September 6, 2012 7:53 am Published by 1 Comment

On Tuesday I attended a very interesting event about information visualization and I have written a review for the ISKO UK blog. I was particularly fascinated by the ideas suggested by Martin Dodge of mapping areas that are not “space” and what this means for the definition of a “map”. So, the idea of following the “path” of a device such as a phone through the electromagnetic spectrum brings a geographical metaphor into a non-tangible “world”. Conversely, is the software and code that devices such as robots use to navigate the world a new form of “map”? Previously, I have... Read more »