On September 19th 2012 the RAGLD team hosted two workshops at the Association for Geographic Information annual conference to demonstrate the crucial role that simple tools and services can play in the development of web-based Linked Data applications. The workshops presented interesting challenges for the team – we had no idea who might sign up, or indeed if anyone would sign up at all; and how should we pitch such a new subject to users in the existing GI market, and get across the fundamental aspects of our emerging technologies in little more than 35 minutes?
The team, consisting of John Goodwin (Ordnance Survey ), Hugh Glaser (Seme4) and Ian Millard (University of Southampton), took the challenges in their stride and presented high impact workshops that not only outlined the aims of the RAGLD project, but which were also valuable in forming connections with members of a diverse and growing Linked Data community.
John ran with the baton first and, with contributions from glamorous assistant Hugh, gave a whistle stop tour of the world of Linked Data in less than 5 minutes. Ian followed with an introduction to the RAGLD environment, starting with the reconciliation service and how it can be used to find appropriate matches to keywords, moving seamlessly on to the SameAs service and how it can resolve connections between items, before delving deeper into the other services that are currently available through RAGLD, or which are soon to be developed. (Have a look at our services page for more about the sort of tools that we are developing).
It was a breakneck journey across the surface of the RAGLD world and, although really just a taster of what the tools and services could offer, there was a vast amount of information for the audience to take on. The presentations and practical demonstrations prompted a lively debate and many attendees were keen to share their views on the trials and tribulations of working with Linked Data. They universally agreed that a set of simple tools and services would be extremely valuable in opening up the Linked Data world for their organisations and customers.
It was a busy two day conference and provided a high profile platform for promoting the RAGLD project. We did, of course, manage to find time for a couple of beers outside of the conference – it’s always wise to embrace the social aspects of a major industry gathering such as this. After all that hard work, the RAGLD team returned triumphant and inspired to add even more tools and services to enable Linked Data consumers to select, filter, manipulate, visualize, transform and communicate data more easily, and in ways that more closely match their specific decision-making processes.