Archive for the ‘social semantic web’ Category

Ph.D. viva – public talk

October 1st, 2013

Here are the slides from the public part of my Ph.D. viva (thesis defense), on “Enabling reuse of arguments and opinions in open collaboration systems”. There is also a downloadable PDF version of the slides. Or see the thesis/dissertation itself and its data (index page) (note added 2016-04-22).

Video to follow: thanks to Hugo Hromic for streaming & recording that!

Title: “Enabling reuse of arguments and opinions in open collaboration systems”

Abstract: The World Wide Web enables large-scale collaboration, even between groups of individuals previously unknown to one another. These collaborations produce tangible outputs, such as encyclopedias (Wikipedia), electronic books (Distributed Proofreaders), maps (OpenStreetMap) and open source software packages (Firefox). In such open collaboration systems, decisions are made through open online discussions in which anyone can participate, and those decisions are based on the written arguments and opinions that individuals contribute, sometimes in large volumes.

Sense-making and coordination is an important component of collaboration, but it is particularly challenging when individuals disagree. When large volumes of opinions and arguments are expressed, popular or emotive choices can be identified through coarse approaches such as sampling, sentiment, or voting. But these do not identify the reasons for disagreement, which may be needed in order to reach decisions. For example, about 500 discussions each week in Wikipedia concern whether a particular topic should be covered in the encyclopedia. Discussions may involve comments from 2-200 people, and some topics are contentious.

This thesis addresses the problem of analyzing, integrating, and reconciling arguments and opinions in goal-oriented online discussions. We emphasize the structure of arguments by providing a new, reconfigurable Web interface. Our interface improves the perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and information completeness, thus providing meaningful support for the discussion.

The thesis addresses the following three research questions:
– What are the opportunities and requirements for providing argumentation support?
– Which arguments are used in open collaboration systems?
– How can we structure and display opinions and arguments to support their use and reuse?

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Ph.D. defense, Tuesday October 1st

September 30th, 2013


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Turning social disputes into knowledge representations (DERI reading group 2012-03-28)

September 16th, 2012

Last March1 I gave a reading group talk about knowledge representations of online disputes:

Titled “Turning social disputes into knowledge representations”, the talk was based primarily on two papers:

Online argumentation, and particularly knowledge representation from argumentation, is the overarching theme of my dissertation at DERI and as I get together the overall argument, I’ve been looking through my old slidedecks. My previous reading group talk, from November 2011, was about Using Controlled Natural Language and First Order Logic to improve e-consultation discussion forums, based on several papers by Adam Wyner and his colleagues; more recently Adam and I have started a fruitful collaboration, funded in part by the COST action on argumentation and a Short-Term Travel Fellowship from Science Foundation Ireland.

  1. March 28, 2012 []

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A Review of Argumentation for the Social Semantic Web

December 6th, 2011

I’m very pleased to share our “A Review of Argumentation for the Social Semantic Web“.

You are very warmly invited to review this paper. You can post the review as a comment to the manuscript page publicly at SWJ’s website. Informal comments by email are also welcome.

Open review

I adore SWJ’s open review process: publicly available manuscripts are useful. In 11 months the landing page has had “1208 reads” and I’m sure that not all of those are mine! Further, knowing who reviewed a paper can add credibility to the process. (It means quite a lot to me when Simon Buckingham-Shum says “I anticipate that this will become a standard reference for the field.”!)

Two earlier versions

The paper evolved from my first year Ph.D. report. In the process of defining my Ph.D. topic, I reviewed the state-of-art of argumentation for the Social Semantic Web. This was further developed in conversations with my coauthors, my colleague Tudor Groza and my advisor Alexandre Passant.

The outdated first journal submission and second journal submission are available; May’s reviews refer to the first version. A cover letter responding to the reviews summarizes what has changed. Shared since I am always encouraged by seeing how others’ work and ideas have developed over time!

So read the most recent version, and let us know what you think!

Updated 2012-08-09 to update links to the “final” version.

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Posted in argumentative discussions, PhD diary, semantic web, social semantic web, social web | Comments (0)

Web of data for books?

November 5th, 2011

If you were building a user interface for the Web of data, for books, it just might look like Small Demons.

Unfortunately you can’t see much without logging in, so go get yourself a beta account. (I’ve already complained about asking for a birthday. My new one is 29 Feb 1904, you can help me celebrate in 2012!)

Their data on Ireland is pretty sketchy so far. They do offer to help you buy Guiness on Amazon though. :)

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Posted in books and reading, library and information science, semantic web, social semantic web | Comments (0)

Quantified Self Europe, two talks proposed

October 12th, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend doesn’t really register in Europe. But this year it will for me: I’m going to Amsterdam for Quantified Self Europe, since I’m lucky enough to have a scholarship covering conference fees.

Today I proposed two talks:

  1. Weight and exercise tracking (which I’ve been doing in various forms for 19 months, currently using a Phillips DirectLife exercise monitor, and a normal scale, collected with the hacker’s diet). Mainly, these are less integrated than they could be, and I’d like to advocate interoperability, APIs, and uniform formats — while hopefully getting some ideas from the audience about quick hacks to improve my current system.
  2. Lifetracking, privacy & the surveillance society. This brings together two themes: First, how individuals’ lifetracking can be seen as a re-enactment of privacy, with changed ideas of what that means (e.g. panopticon, sousveillance, etc.). Second, the increased awareness about the wealth of personal data held by corporations (e.g. German politician Malt Spitz sued to get 6 months of his telcom data). The boundary between public life and private life is continually shifting as communication technology and social norms evolve; this talk investigates how lifetracking and the quantified self movement push the privacy/publicity boundaries in multiple ways. QS increases the public audience for data-driven stories of private lives while also highlighting the need for individuals to control access to and the disposition of their own personal data.

Ironically, self-surveillance was an academic interest of mine before it became a personal one:  Back in 2009, Nathan Yau and I wrote a paper for the ASIST Bulletin about self-surveillance (PDF) [less pretty in HTML]. It helped interest me in the Semantic Web, too: putting data in standard formats would make it easier to make data-driven visualizations, so lifetracking and the quantified self movement is a great usecase for the (social) Semantic Web. QS also shows how privacy cuts both ways and could provide an early-adopter audience for the kind of fine-grained privacy tools a colleague is developing.

(A first reply to Nic’s encouragement)

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Reading Group talk: Using Controlled Natural Language and First Order Logic to improve e-consultation discussion forums

September 7th, 2011

Today the DERI Reading Group starts up again for the fall. I’m talking about three papers from the IMPACT project.

For now this is just to provide my colleagues with links; check back later for slides, etc.Scroll down for slides and video.

  1. Adam Wyner and Tom van Engers. A Framework for Enriched, Controlled On-line Discussion Forums for e-Government Policy-making. EGOVIS 2010. AcaWiki Summary
  2. Adam Wyner, Tom van Enger, and Kiavash Bahreini. From Policy-making Statements to First-order Logic. Electronic Government and Electronic Participation 2010. AcaWiki Summary
  3. Adam Wyner and Tom van Enger. Towards Web-based Mass Argumentation in Natural Language. (long version of this EKAW 2010 poster). AcaWiki Summary

Reading Group talk: Using Controlled Natural Language and First Order Logic to improve e-consultation discussion forums from Jodi Schneider on Vimeo.

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Extended deadline for STLR 2011

April 29th, 2011

We’ve extended the STLR 2011 deadline due to several requests; submissions are now due May 8th.

JCDL workshops are split over two half-days, and we are lucky enough to have *two* keynote speakers: Bernhard Haslhofer of the University of Vienna and Cathy Marshall of Microsoft Research.

Consider submitting!

The 1st Workshop on Semantic Web Technologies for Libraries and Readers

STLR 2011

June 16 (PM) & 17 (AM) 2011
Co-located with the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) 2011 Ottawa, Canada

While Semantic Web technologies are successfully being applied to library catalogs and digital libraries, the semantic enhancement of books and other electronic media is ripe for further exploration. Connections between envisioned and emerging scholarly objects (which are doubtless social and semantic) and the digital libraries in which these items will be housed, encountered, and explored have yet to be made and implemented. Likewise, mobile reading brings new opportunities for personalized, context-aware interactions between reader and material, enriched by information such as location, time of day and access history.

This full-day workshop, motivated by the idea that reading is mobile, interactive, social, and material, will be focused on semantically enhancing electronic media as well as on the mobile and social aspects of the Semantic Web for electronic media, libraries and their users. It aims to bring together practitioners and developers involved in semantically enhancing electronic media (including documents, books, research objects, multimedia materials and digital libraries) as well as academics researching more formal aspects of the interactions between such resources and their users. We also particularly invite entrepreneurs and developers interested in enhancing electronic media using Semantic Web technologies with a user-centered approach.

We invite the submission of papers, demonstrations and posters which describe implementations or original research that are related (but are not limited) to the following areas of interest:

  • Strategies for semantic publishing (technical, social, and economic)
  • Approaches for consuming semantic representations of digital documents and electronic media
  • Open and shared semantic bookmarks and annotations for mobile and device-independent use
  • User-centered approaches for semantically annotating reading lists and/or library catalogues
  • Applications of Semantic Web technologies for building personal or context-aware media libraries
  • Approaches for interacting with context-aware electronic media (e.g. location-aware storytelling, context-sensitive mobile applications, use of geolocation, personalization, etc.)
  • Applications for media recommendations and filtering using Semantic Web technologies
  • Applications integrating natural language processing with approaches for semantic annotation of reading materials
  • Applications leveraging the interoperability of semantic annotations for aggregation and crowd-sourcing
  • Approaches for discipline-specific or task-specific information sharing and collaboration
  • Social semantic approaches for using, publishing, and filtering scholarly objects and personal electronic media


*EXTENDED* Paper submission deadline: May 8th 2011
Acceptance notification: June 1st 2011
Camera-ready version: June 8th 2011



Each submission will be independently reviewed by 2-3 program committee members.


  • Alison Callahan, Dept of Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • Dr. Michel Dumontier, Dept of Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • Jodi Schneider, DERI, NUI Galway, Ireland
  • Dr. Lars Svensson, German National Library


Please use PDF format for all submissions. Semantically annotated versions of submissions, and submissions in novel digital formats, are encouraged and will be accepted in addition to a PDF version.
All submissions must adhere to the following page limits:
Full length papers: maximum 8 pages
Demonstrations: 2 pages
Posters: 1 page
Use the ACM template for formatting:
Submit using EasyChair:

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Posted in future of publishing, library and information science, PhD diary, scholarly communication, semantic web, social semantic web | Comments (2)

Wikipedia and the World Wide Argument Web

February 27th, 2011

I spoke about my first year Ph.D. research in December at DERI. The topic of my talk: Wikipedia discussions and the nascent World Wide Argument Web. I was proud to have the video (below) posted to our institute video stream.

The Wikipedia research is drawn from our ACM Symposium on Applied Computing paper:
Jodi Schneider, Alexandre Passant, John G. Breslin, “Understanding and Improving Wikipedia Article Discussion Spaces.” In SAC 2011 (Web Track), TaiChung, Taiwan, March 21-25, 2011.

Jodi Schneider – Constructing knowledge through argument: Wikipedia and World Wide Argument Web from DERI, NUI Galway on Vimeo.

This is ongoing work, and feedback is most welcome.

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Supporting Reading

January 21st, 2011

Yesterday I spoke at Beyond the PDF about use cases for reading. Slides are below; the presentation was also webcast, so I hope to share a video recording when it becomes available. The video is now on Youtube (part of the Beyond the PDF video playlist) and below.

Thanks to the DERI Social Software Unit for feedback on an earlier version of this presentation. I’m particularly grateful to Allen Renear and Carole Palmer from UIUC, whose call for ontology-aware reading tools pushed me down this path, and to Geoffrey Bilder who presented these ideas in a way I couldn’t help thinking about and remixing. Cathy Marshall’s clear exposition, in Reading and Writing the Electronic Book was fundamental to digging deeper.

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Posted in books and reading, future of publishing, library and information science, scholarly communication, social semantic web | Comments (2)