Semantic Camp Day 1

SC Logo There have been general BarCamps aplenty, but this one, arranged by Semantic evangelist Tom Morris, was geared specifically towards the Semantic (and semantic) Web.

It had a slightly different feel to it, in that we didn’t stay overnight. But it was good to see some different faces in the crowd than the usual BarCamp suspects – there seemed to be a good few academics in the mix this time.

Session 1 – Accessibility
Jonathan Chetwynd

Talking about SVG

Current UK research tells us that 20-25% of the population suffer from “functional illiteracy”! The tools available for making sites all require significant literacy skills. So it is difficult for low-literacy people to access/make sites themselves.

JobCentre Plus – low literacy is strongly correlated with unemployment. The site for searching for jobs isn’t friendly for low literacy users – they encounter lots of check boxes and job titles.

GUI with graphics can be a better way of presenting things to low-literacy users. Currently, SVG not very supported by browsers at present and there is no easy accessible SVG authoring tool.

Another friend of mine, Antonia Hyde, is heavily involved with producing websites for people with learning disabilities over at United Response, and so this would have been a great session for her to attend.

Session 2 – Bringing Semantic Web to Bloggers
Jure Čuhalev

Jure demonstrated a product from Zemanta, a startup from Slovenia.  It empowers bloggers to write better posts. Plugin to Blogger etc – which gives you extra media content relevent to stuff as you write. Point and click on relevent article from list – gets added to bottom of code. Quick links for Technorati etc.

Focus is not on readers with widgets but authors with tools – via Firefox extensions or IE plugins (if Blogger etc does not support plugins). Free. Basic functions are free, upgraded functions for a small fee.

3rd party developers – get full API docs, support, promotion, it’s all open sourced stuff. Should be available from mid-March 2008.

Session 3 – hAvatar
Cristiano Betta

hAvatar – what is it? Instead of using 3rd party to host avatar, use a photo from your own site’s hCard. Made by as a plugin for WordPress. Goes and fetches the photo from your own site’s hCard to show as humbnails on comments etc.

Problems – if there’s multiple hCards on the provided URL, which to use? Can hack to see if any of the hCards have the URL specified which you’ve just looked at. Web service available at

More info in Cristiano’s blog post, or download the plugin here.

Session 4 – Microformats “State of the Nation”
Ben Ward and Frances Berrmian.

A quick session from Ben and Frances about the current state of play with Microformats:

  • Googlemaps has hCard in the info bubble and sidebar stuff.
  • The common formats have been widely adopted. Newer ones are being tested in the wild.
  • hRecipes – marking up food!
  • hAudio – development for over a year. Means of marking up music references. Could be used by and Songbird.
  • Google Social Graph API – indexes XFN and hCards – give them a URL and it brings back a list of your XFN contacts

Then we decided to head for a curry before I eventually ended up in an extremely orange room at the easyHotel Kensington for the night.

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