Tim Organ Steps Down

After more than six years as CEO of Seme4, Tim Organ announced at the recent Board that he was stepping down. Hugh Glaser has taken on the role of CEO.

Tim has led Seme4 through some stormy times, especially in the market, with recessions and austerity in the public sector, and leaves it in a healthy condition – in fact, Seme4 recorded its best year yet in the recent financial review. He will stay involved with Seme4 at a strategic level, and remain on the Board, but the day to day involvement will be much reduced.

In recognising Tim’s contribution to Seme4, Wendy Hall commented that “We are very grateful for everything Tim has done for Seme4 over the last few years. Over his time at the helm, Seme4 has grown significantly as a company and we couldn’t have done this without his tireless efforts on our behalf. Always a pleasure to work with, we look forward to his continued involvement in the future development of the company”.

Tim said “It has been a great pleasure and an honour to work with everyone at Seme4 these last six years.  Making the case for Linked Data and our data integration technology has not been easy, but Seme4 has survived while others have not, making consistent profits every year.  There is no doubt that our time will come, and Seme4 will go from strength to strength.”

See UK – Compare Your Neighbourhood

In collaboration with the EnAKTing Project, Seme4 have produced See UK, a demonstrator that gives an end-user visualisation of multiple Open Datasets against a geographic background.

See UK
is a simple visualisation of data that has geographic aspects
and has been published as machine-interpretable Linked Data.

See UK uses data that has been sourced from data.gov.uk and processed
into Linked Data where necessary, but is also designed to be able to use
other sources where available. All the datasets are then enriched, by
calculating area totals from point data and inferring aggregate values
for regions that do not have explicit data values, and further
enriched by establishing linkage between the datasets.
These enriched datasets are available directly from the
EnAKTing Project,
and can be accessed using the links below.

The visualisation provides a view centred on a chosen region of
specified size, and most noticeably gives a “pie-chart” that shows the
viewer how that region compares with similar regions around it. It
is thus designed to focus on the information most relevant to the
user. Colour indicates the “worst” (red) and “best” (green) areas
from those shown. This pie-chart is shown in preference to simply
colouring the map itself, as a coloured map confuses the map
features with the data being visualised.
It also gives some context of the real geography
involved, so that a full picture is seen. The user can navigate by
looking and clicking on the pie-chart, or the map, and can thus move
around using whatever view they are taking of the data presentation. A
search by postcode functionality is also supported, aiding the user in
finding specific locations.

An important aspect of the visualisation is that cross-dataset
correlation can be achieved and presented in a natural fashion, as
the data can be viewed as normalised by population or area, in
addition to the raw values. The user can therefore see how regions
compare in terms of, for example, crime density by population or
area, rather than just knowing that their county has little crime,
and guessing this is because the county has a small population or

See UK has been produced as a collaborative activity between Seme4 Ltd.
and members of the EnAKTing project at the University of Southampton.
For further details please contact Hugh Glaser
or Ian Millard; feedback on this application is very

Dame Wendy Hall elected a Fellow of the ACM

Professor Dame Wendy Hall has been elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest organization for computing professionals.

Dame Wendy was President of the ACM from 2008 to 2010, the first person from outside North America to hold this position in the ACM’s prestigious 60-year history. Her Fellowship was awarded ‘for contributions to the semantic web and web science and for service to ACM and the international computing community.’

‘I am very honoured to be elected a Fellow of the ACM,’ said Dame Wendy, ‘and to be recognized both for my research and my service to the international community, which is a very significant part of my work.’

Seme4 Speakers at British Museum Study Day

Prof Dame Wendy Hall and Hugh Glaser both gave presentations at a study day organised for the ResearchSpace Project by the British Museum on “Cultural Heritage and the Semantic Web British Museum”.

The event was attended by both policy-makers and technologists from cultural institutions from around the world. Dame Wendy gave a keynote address, and Hugh gave a presentation on “Museum data, where next – consuming linked data”.

Seme4 were also pleased to support the event by providing sponsorship.

Study Day Web Page

Nigel Shadbolt named Government IT Thought Leader

The influential web site Silicon.com has named Prof Nigel Shadbolt as a leading Government IT Thought Leader 2010.

Silicon.com writes: “Professor Nigel Shadbolt has helped demonstrate how technology can open the doors on public information locked away in Whitehall.

“In June 2009 Shadbolt and world wide web creator Tim Berners-Lee were appointed information advisers, tasked with finding ways of harnessing tech to reuse the reams of data collected by public bodies.

“The pair’s work led to the creation of data.gov.uk, a website designed to allow access to all non-personal data collected by government. The website already links to thousands of datasets, covering topics ranging from public transport routes to details about the highest earners in government.

“The public are already finding interesting new ways to use data.gov.uk’s information – turning it into easy-to-digest graphics or web and smartphone apps that allow the data to be mashed up with other information to create useful new insights.

“The coalition government has retained Shadbolt’s services, appointing him to the Public Sector Transparency Board, a body that is setting open data standards to make it easier for information to be shared across the public sector. He is also chairman of the Local Data Panel, which seeks to improve access to data held by local government.

“Shadbolt’s spirit of openness has taken root in Whitehall – with the government setting up transparency.number10.gov.uk, a website designed to publish details of Whitehall department business plans, government spending and other information.

“Outside his public sector work, Shadbolt is professor of artificial intelligence and deputy head for research at the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton.

“Shadbolt is a director of the Web Science Trust, and of the World Wide Web Foundation – organisations that seek to advance our understanding of the web and promote the web’s positive impact on society.

“He is a fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, and has previously served as BCS president.”

Other leading figures named by Silicon.com include Martha Lane-Fox, Digital Champion, UK Government; Erik Huggers, Director of Future Media and Technology, BBC; and Tom Steinberg, Founder, mySociety.org web sites.

Semantic Web Researchers gather in Shanghai

At the recent International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC) in Shanghai, Seme4 researchers were again active.

Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt, Hugh Glaser and Ian Millard were all able to attend, and take part in the lively discussions.

They had papers in both the main ISWC conference (on “How to Reuse a Faceted Classification and Put it on the Semantic Web”) and the important associated First International Workshop On Consuming Linked Data (COLD2010) on “Consuming Multiple Linked Data Sources: Challenges and Experiences” and “Linked Timelines: Temporal Representation and Management in Linked Data”.

Dame Wendy Hall to chair EU Advisory Group

It has been announced that Prof Dame Wendy Hall will be the new chair of ISTAG – the Advisory Group for the future direction of the European Commission’s ICT research beyond Framework 7.

ISTAG is mandated to provide advice on strategy, objectives and scientific and technological priorities which will shape future research programmes, and the 25 members are drawn from leading universities and communications companies across Europe.

Dame Wendy is excited about her new role, saying that ‘as chair of ISTAG, it is all about bridging the gap between academia and industry to ensure that research funding that is available is used to best effect. ISTAG has a very important role to play in shaping the future of ICT research in Europe.’