Salon H & I, 4th Floor
The Web is not just for people any more. Software agents, including all of the major search engines, are now crawling the Web and consuming not just human-readable text, but also semantic data and metadata embedded in normal Web pages. But a survey of the semantic Web landscape reveals a morass of conflicting terms, overhyped SEO techniques, and cynical detractors saying our current Web technology stack is "good enough". The reality is that the next big breakthrough in Web search technology will come from the harvesting and sharing of semantic data: either data embedded in the pages of today's human-readable Web or through linkable open data sets shared via the common communications standards we already know (HTTP, URIs, and XML). Popular CMSs like Drupal have begun to embrace the semantic Web, automatically generating semantics for the content served. In this talk, I'll present four patterns for integrating the W3C's semantic Web standards into today's higher education websites and applications. Each pattern progressively builds upon the others, culminating in a model for a fully-semantic Web application. Examples will highlight techniques that provide new capabilities or are not easily accomplished through normal practices of relational database-backed Web applications.
Brian has been developing software applications for the higher education community since 1994, primarily for Penn State University. In 2009 he struck out on his own, relocating to the West Coast and becoming a technology gun for hire. He continues to contribute to the greater higher education community through Twitter, contract work, speaking engagements, and by supporting education-focused open source software projects.