Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fun with Blimps

Aidan, Mikayla and I had a blast today by attaching a digital camera to a helium blimp and flying it around our neighborhood :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

No Darwin in the South

I know I live well South of the Mason-Dixon Line. The slower pace of life here, the older attitudes and the more formal politeness is often pleasant. Sure, there are prejudices and many of the public schools aren't very good (others are, naturally). There is a lot of societal stress due to Northern migration. Virginia was even a blue state in the last election. All in all, many people from many places live in Virginia and call it home.

That's why I was shocked that my kids' school didn't even mention the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin yesterday. Neither my fifth or second grader knew who he was, or why he was famous. They know now, though. We talked about the The Voyage of the Beagle, On the Origin of Species and The Decent of Man all through dinner. Tomorrow, I plan to describe his work on worms. Kids love that sort of thing, even more than discussions of sexual selection vs. natural selection.

Shame on Fredericksburg Academy! They call themselves a college prep school? They don't even teach sex education until seventh grade! By that time, the kids have had the chance to figure it out for themselves, often in inappropriate ways. I had "the talk" with my fifth grader earlier this year. He is better for it, too. I'm honestly looking forward to talking to the head of the Lower School when she gets the rant I just sent her on Monday morning.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Desperately Seeking SKOS Vendors

A Fortune 500 customer of Zepheira's has a problem that could readily be solved with SKOS. You might think that would be sufficient to attract the attention of some tools vendors, especially since SKOS is in "last call" at the W3C and is likely to become a standard later this year. If that is so, I've missed it.

Can anyone tell me where to get decent tool support for SKOS?

Mulgara has some cool support for SKOS, as I mentioned here. Unfortunately, the state of that support still requires some care and feeding by an expert.

I approached Revelytix, hoping that they would agree to provide SKOS support in Knoodl, but they demurred until at least later this year. It should be easy for them given their existing support for OWL and their use of Mulgara.

Another alternative may be ThManager, an Open Source SKOS editor/visualizer.

Until tools vendors support SKOS directly, we are limited to existing taxonomy creation and maintenance tools, such as BiblioTech or Synaptica to build ANSI/NISO standard thesauri (Z39.19) then convert them to SKOS. For the moment, though, conversion tools seem to be in the same boat as editors.

SKOS in Mulgara's RLog

I have long been impressed by Paul's technical prowess. His recent implementation of SKOS definitions in Mulgara's RLog has done it again.

RLog is a logic programming language like Prolog that Paul created. RLog natively understands URIs and RDF's notions of subject-predicate-object relations. RLog's implementation of SKOS requires a mere 7 rules (!) once the 95 axioms are laid down. Naturally, those axioms and rules include huge chunks of RDFS and OWL.

RLog makes it easy (if you are a logic programmer) to make rules files for Mulgara's Krule rule engine. Support for RDFS has been provided in Krule for some time.

Paul has been talking about integrating RLog into Mulgara for over two years. I hope he can make that happen during 2009. Scalable or not, it is insanely cool. Until an integration happens, RLog must be run as a separate tool, as does Krule.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Ph.D. Thesis Published

My Ph.D. thesis, entitled Metadata Foundations for the Life Cycle Management of Software Systems has been published on UQ eSpace, The University of Queensland's institutional digital repository. Get your copies now while they're hot :)

Interestingly, at least to me, is that UQ eSpace is built on Fedora Commons, and therefore uses Mulgara. Sweet!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

IET Software Journal Article Finally Published

The British journal IET Software finally published an article I wrote nearly three years ago. It was apparently published last August but I just recently found out.

The article is Towards a software maintenance methodology using Semantic Web techniques and paradigmatic documentation modelling.

The citation is:

Hyland-Wood, D., Carrington, D. and Kaplan, S. (2008, August). Towards a software maintenance methodology using Semantic Web techniques and paradigmatic documentation modelling, IET Software, 2/4, pp. 337-347