Category Archives: SemanticWeb

Semicolon methods to be used in Sweden

It has been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog. Most work in the recent months has been related to the Semicolon-project ( This project is a Norwegian funded innovation project where we’re helping the public sector in Norway in interoperability issues related to sharing information with focus on semantic and leagal issues.

Computas work here has been related to opening up registries like the Norwegian Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities, The Register of Company Accounts and the Semantics Register for Electronic Services. These has been published as Linked Open Data and the first two even on SPARQL endpoints.

The last year we’ve worked on the “Semicolon method for publishing master data as linked data”. The Swedish Tax Administration (Skatteverket) applied for funding to open data from the Swedish company registeries using «Semicolon-metod» as input. They were crowned with recieving a grant so now we’re also going to help them in opening up company data. Interesting months ahead.–publicerat/Pressmeddelanden/2012/2012-06-11-Oppna-datakallor-ger-stora-affarsmojligheter/


4 advises on becoming more semantic

Over the years I’ve worked on quite a few semantic projects, and I’ve listened to hundreds of presentations, and helt over 50 myself. A few things has become very clear to me in this time

1. The need to know what is important to You! What is the ultimate solution for you! If you collaborate with just one other party – XML is fine! If you have established standards with everyone you work with, use them! If you are in an “accidental collaboration” environment you will need clearer semantics. And if you own public data, release them on the semantic web! YOU have to look at your vision, business model and collaboration patterns!

2. Many, if not most, people talking about semantics have no hands on experience. It never stop being amazed to see and hear people talking about this without understanding where the state-of-the-art is. Vision of the technology’s possibilities is not enough. You also need to know the limitations regarding standards, toolkits maturity, theoretical limitations and applied use cases – and even more important experience for more than toy-examples so you can compare to as-is technology.

3. Know the important differences between approaches. Everyone are now calling what they solution semantic. Chosing wrong may lead you on a side track, it may not fit you vision. Know what the world is doing or you may end up with Minitel while the rest of the world uses the Web.

4. Know the steps to your goal. What steps can be executed now, and what needs more maturity from you, the standards, tools and developers. Know that executing early gives wounds, executing late you may lose an opportunity. Know that you can engineer around some problems, others may be harder.

Short and simple, get informe and know what is right for you!

Sesam4 and Tourism

Sesam4, not to be confused with sesame from Aduna, is a Norwegian research project with participation from Computas, Ovitas, Cyberwatcher, Vestlandsforsking and others.

One of the objectives of the project is to address tourism sector with semantic web technology. The sector is chosen for a number of reasons:
• Large number of stakeholders
• Most of the service providers have small budgets for technology and integration
• Large amount of potentially interesting information, with a substantial precentage public
• Geolocated information
• High visibility

Mostly this means that it is a challenge to create good solutions with traditional technologies, and a great potential for semantic web technologies.

Through the first phases of the project we have defined some use cases, scenarios and identified some key challenges. My company, Computas, is one of the participants in the project. In the next months we will focus on how to apply semantic web technologies in the scenarios. We’re starting this week with an off-site workshop with 30 people. More on the results will be posted later.

Anyone else applying semantic web technologies for tourism?

Semantics in the Norwegian government

The Norwegian Registry Centre, Brønnøysundregistrene, is implementing a metadata repository for configuration of concept, structures and messages exchanged between the private sector and the government.

The project, known as SERES2 has gpne through several phases. It has clearly defined benefits; simplifying and reducing the reporting burden of enterprises, and harmonizing models for reuse. The use cases are also quite clear. Merging existing message exchange models (e.g XSDs) into common models and thereafter producing new message exchange models top-down with clear semantics, structure and under a well defined workflow and configuration management.

The repository, which is a central part of the final system is based on a product from Adaptive Inc. which allows a custom metamodel to be defined, and instances of these to be imported, and versioned in the repository.

First glance at a populated system will be at the Semantic Days conference in Stavanger May 18-20.

The Media Zone

This weekend eight of the semantic web Media Zone project team are gathered in a cabin in Hemsedal, Norway. There is no running water here, which means that we have to heat water on the woodstove and can take no showers. No problem. We do have electricity though, and Television.

I often read trends from the behavior of my friends in situations over time. Of course I’m not assuming we are representative of the general population.

Interrestingly the TV has not been turned on the whole weekend. But we’ve seen a lot of media. On our iPhones and laptops. Our music has been streamed over the 3G network with Spotify. At least eight YouTube videos have been shared.

While I’m blogging about this on my iPhone, Magnus is playing the Norwegian anthem on his iPhone. Daniel is playing Ski Jump on the iPhone instead of trying the one outside the cabin. Frode is creating maps while skiing. Everyone are twittering about what they are doing. And did I mention that Magnus, Daniel and me played poker agains eachother and other facebook people in the car getting here.

What did people do five years ago? Messages to the world would have been sent by SMS, we may have had a guitar and for sure this blog would have been written in the cabin’s guest book. And TV would have been the preferred medium. I actually checked the guest book for March 21, 2004. They were only skiing…

I think I can safely say that in another five years we can still be without running water, but not without the Internet, and we will not notice that the TV is not there. The world is moving so fast that the rest will be guesswork.

Thanks for a great weekend Magnus, Pia, Frode, Daniel, Odd-Wiking, Christian and Robert!

Speak dialect, write english

I just had a discussion with a colleague  on the state of languages in Norway. Norway has two official languages bokmål and nynorsk, the first based on danish the second artificially created from dialects in the 19th century. Most people write bokmål whereas some 20% (my guesstimate) has nynorsk as their primary language in school. This said, the languages are quite close, and everyone can understand the other language.

So why not one written language? In the 60s it was tried to merge these into one written language called samnorsk. At the time it was not successful, and the merger failed. Since then however the languages have grown closer, and at the same time the use of English as a second language has become much more apparent. So why not try again?   

I’m a strong supporter of spoken dialects – and there are many of them in Norway (every valley has their own dialect). Because of this people are used to hear dialects constantly as well as swedish and other european languages. Dialects tells you where you’re from, and provide you with roots and belonging. With the globalization we are faced with the challenge that everything from children television to Internet are written in the most (read: affordable) language . In practice it means that english children TV series and movies are dubbed with Norwegian bokmål. The result is that children starts to speak a normalized bokmål that is quite far from their dialects. The result in a generation will be that we will loose the dialects and have one standardized Norwegian spoken language close to bokmål. At the same time everyone also gets to read and write english.

Globalization is inevitable and allows us all to speak together, however why should we loose our spoken dialects in the process. Wouldn’t it be  better if we all spoke our dialects (in addition to english as a second language) keeping our roots, and write english. We might lose our written languages (bokmål and nynorsk), but a written language is needed only to provide a common understanding – and english would be better in a globalized world anyway.