VoCamp – Tackling the Vocabulary Bottleneck

The last 18 months have seen amazing progress in the world of Linked Data, but we now face a new challenge: availability of vocabularies to describe this data. OK, so it’s not really a new challenge at all, but this time it’s real, and urgent. Anyone stumbling across a tasty open data set on the Web is generally faced with the decision of whether to create the necessary vocabulary with which to describe the data, or walk away and find something to do that is more immediately gratifying. There just isn’t a critical mass of existing vocabularies with which to describe the data that is already out there on the Web.

Out of the desire to do something about this issue, and spurred on by discussions with a number of people in the community, Richard Cyganiak and I have set a ball rolling called VoCamp – lightweight, informal hackfests, where motivated people can get together and spend some dedicated time creating vocabularies/ontologies in any area that interests them. Thanks to the generous efforts of David Shotton and Jun Zhao, the first VoCamp will take place in Oxford in late September.

We hope that this is a ball that will roll beyond that one event, and are already talking to others who have expressed an interest in hosting a VoCamp where they are based. If you want to see the Web of Data realised, and share our view that the vocabulary bottleneck is just a little bit restrictive, perhaps you’d like to run a VoCamp where you live/work (or anywhere else you like). It’s very easy, just drop me (firstname.surname at talis.com) and Richard (firstname.surname at deri.org) an email and we’ll point you in the right direction.

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