Social Networks and the Semantic Web
There seems to be again a growing interest in the topic of social networks and the Semantic Web.
Besides some publications here and there, I have recently attended the highly motivating seminar on Social Web Communities, a full week get-together of computer scientists with a social inclination, in the middle-of-nowhere conference paradise that is Dagstuhl. Most of the week was spent in small groups and in the group I joined we had some fun formalizing the notion of ‘surprise’, i.e. an unexpected connection between two people (or things) in a network.
Another interesting development is the plan hatched by Dan Brickley and Harry Halpin to launch a Social Web Incubator group within the W3C. Hopefully this will take on the issue of representation, since other initiatives with social and open in their names tended to focus on APIs and the technical interoperability of applications. To kickstart all this, the W3C is organizing a Workshop on the Future of Social Networking in January, in my (current) hometown of Barcelona!
Lastly, all of this reminded me that I haven’t yet blogged about my book, Social Networks and the Semantic Web. The book – pictured here on the right- unfortunately costs more than it really should due to the low number of copies, but it is fair to say that is a good summary of the technologies around which this field revolves, including social network mining from the Web, social network representations using semantic technologies, social network analysis and visualization, and proving social theories using social network data. The book is based on my PhD thesis, and although it has been out for a year, it probably still makes an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn about this field.