From November 25 to 27 the members of the ERM project (electronic resource management for libraries) attended the SWIB13 (Semantic Web in Libraries) in Hamburg. We, that is Andreas, Natanael, Norman and Thomas, went to Hamburg where the conference was held. We were joined by our colleagues Lydia, Björn and Leander from the University Library. We started Monday morning by visiting the DINI-Workgroup meeting where we could get in touch with Carsten Klee, the maintainer of the holding ontology. In the evening some of us attended an introduction to Linked Data for beginners and some a PhD workshop.
Tuesday was the first day of the main conference. We listened to an inspiring key note by Dorothea Salo which focused mainly on how Linked Data and its technology should be more focused on integrating new people rather than overly emphasize technical aspects. After all, the Semantic Web should be for people not computers since, as she said, „data without people is just noise“. This set the overall tenor for the conference, as it helped to sharpen the point that shined through in many other talks of the conference: While we are skilled in producing Linked Data, we sometimes shift too much into the direction of doing Linked Data just for the sake of doing it, but without actual use-cases or applications that understand Linked Data to generate a benefit for librarians. This idea was also strengthened in Martin Malmstens talk, which started the second day. We should not deliver RDF as an optional view of some data hub but rather should see Linked Data as a first class citizen that we build our applications around.
Another question which recurred during the conference was: How can and should we reuse ontologies as opposed to inventing new ontologies? This is a problem that we are also facing in out work for the ERM project. Kai Eckert talked about the DM2E project (which focuses on digitizing manuscripts for Europeana) and about the underlying applications profile and property extensions (DM2E). We also had a brief discussions with Adrian Pohl, who recently blogged about his idea to express a machine readable applications profile with OAI-ORE (blog post). In the evening we could get some personal insights into library topics during the conference dinner in the Blockbräu pub at the Landungsbrücken.
On the last day we could present our projects in a lightning talk. Leander gave a general outline of the project and it’s goals while Natanael gave a brief introduction to OntoWiki and how we are using it in our project (slideshare).
In private talks we could explain further details about the OntoWiki and might get more people to join the OntoWiki community. We were invited by Stefanie Rühle who is the head of the DINI-KIM working group to give a presentation in April next year. We could also get Professor Magnus Pfeffer interested in OntoWiki who thinks about using it for his teachings. We explained some details about setting up OntoWiki and Virtuoso and he might get back to us for more information.
The conference gave us as computer scientists a good chance to get insights into the topics of interest in libraries information management. We liked being in Hamburg and would like to come back for SWIB2014 in Cologne.