Last year at the 2nd International Conference on Metadata and Semantics Research (MTSR 2007) I gave a talk about the Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS) and its application to encode ISO 3166 country codes. The revised paper „Encoding changing country codes for the Semantic Web with ISO 3166 and SKOS“ is finally ready to appear in the post-proceedings. The preprint is accessible at http://arxiv.org/abs/0801.3908. I raised three issues (notations, nesting concept schemes, and versioning) that are not included in the current SKOS draft – but the proposed solutions are compliant, beside the nesting of concept schemes with the RDF property skos:member – which could be possible by making skos:ConceptScheme a RDF subclass of skos:Collection. Therefore the paper can also be used as a general introduction to SKOS, especially to encode authority files. More details in the paper and at the email@example.com mailing list. SKOS is going to become a W3C recommendation this year.
After a short break at the MTSR 2007 in which I got to know Panayiota Polydoratou yesterday (greetings to Traugott Koch!), Miltiadis Lytras introduced the Open Research Society (ORS) and raised some important general questions: Why do we do research? Who can benefit from our research? Which alternatives to the current system of publication and review exist? How can we overcome the digital divide? The Open Research Society will also participates in the Open Knowledge Summit in Athens (24-26 September 2008) and it is going to publish a couple of new Open Access journals – have a look at their website and welcome this new organization in the area of Open Access and Open Content!
Miguel-Angel Sicilia explained the ORS plans in more detail with his presentation From open access to open research and information sustainability. The proposed ORS Journals (which ORS should not be limited to) are going to be full open access without author fees and all research data must be provided. Peer review is planned to be double-blind but there will be additional experiments with other review methods to find out how peer review could be changed. Sicilia also talked about Open Access and Information Sustainability which is a hard challenge given the explosion of publication.
The after-lunch session of MTSR 2007 contained five presentations:
Spyros Voulgaris presented a A Web Classifier for Semantic Classification Between News and Sports Broadcasts, that is an automated method of classification of news vs sports broadcast based on the properties of audio signal. The method does not require speech-recognition and is language independent. The audio signal is processed into a feature vector with is then fed to a neural network for classification. For feature extraction AMDF (Average Magnitude Difference Function) with segments of one to six seconds is used. As I do not know AMDF I cannot tell you more about this, nor what simple automatic binary classification has to do with semantics.
Based on classifier by Voulgaris et al. a Semiautomated tool for characterizing news video files, using metadata schemas was presented by Stefanos Asonitis. Their system consists of a web crawler for video content, the classifier, and an export of NewsML und SportsML which is partly derived from the sources and the classifier and party edited by users of the system.
For a scientometrics-lover like me Metadata Encoding for the Levels of Scientific Research presented by Nikoletta Peponi was highly interesting. Frankly speaking most of the schema is outdated (for instance the division into article, monograph, essay, and thesis), naive and incomplete. Whithout a set of examples and mapping to existing ontologies its pointless. But it’s an interesting beginning.
Sylvia Poulimenou (Metadata Encoding for the Documents based on the Rules of Diplomatics Science) presented an extension of TEI for diplomatics (the analysis and critical edition of documents to test their authenticity).
In the fifth presentation Mrs. Belesiotis talked about Ontology Oriented Support for the Teaching Process in the Greek Secondary Education. My knowledge of didactics is to low to write more about this, but the didactic of the presentation could habe been better then speedy reading the text on overfilled, too-many slides only. Maybe I just missed the point.
Evangelos Sakkopoulus presented with Ontology-based Knowledge Acquisition through Semantic Profiling. An Application to the Cultural Heritage Domain a maintenance scheme for detecting the category a website may belong to for effective caching and client-side re-ranking websites in mobile applications. His approach is based on the observed browsing behaviour of „bursty cases“: a few web pages results’ categories are accessed frequently for short periods of time. Sakkopoulus uses the categories of the Open Directory Project (ODP), but the method could also be applied to other sets like the Wikipedia category system or library classifications.
In the second presentation Dimitrios Koutsomitropoulos talked with Ontology-based Knowledge Acquisition through Semantic Profiling about profiling CIDOC-CRM (ISO 21127:2006) by refining existing and adding new classes and properties with OWL. With additional restrictions and refinement you can increase expressiveness and better match a particular case. Well – this is nice, but in my experience we do not need more complexity and details but less, because the existing data is much less homogeneous and detailed then ontology theorists dream of. CIDOC-CRM is important but real-world applications will rather use simplifications of it.
Gianluca Colombo presented a Reference Ontology Design for a Neurovascular Knowledge Network. He researched how phenotypes in distributed clinical databases can be described with methods of bioinformatics to aggregate them jointly. He admitted that the most difficult part is mapping existing data to one common ontology.
Finally Irina Astrova presented Rule-Based Transformation of SQL Relational Databases to OWL Ontologies. I cannot judge her work because I don’t not the current research in mapping SQL data to the Semantic Web (it is surely a topic that many researcher deal with), but it looks more practical and relevant then the other presentations because most data exists in SQL databases. The implementation QUALEG DB can even do both way (SQL to OWL and OWL to SQL) as shown in another paper of hers – you can get get the software if you want (they are going to rename it).
The lunch was simple and the view over the bay is wonderful.
Unlike my usual habbits and thanks to W-LAN in the hotel, the slides of my presentation Encoding changing country codes in RDF with ISO 3166 and SKOS at the second International Conference on Metadata and Semantics Research (MTSR2007) are ready and online even before the conference started! The full, detailed paper is not online yet because I am revising and correcting it (I found a very relevant paper after submission). And the serendipity effect of slideshare works: looking for other presentations about SKOS I stumbled upon the very interesting slides of Sebastion Kruk who works in the Corrib project on semantic web and digital libraries.
P.S: A preprint of the revised paper is available at arXiv.org.