Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
In myprevious post, I mentioned that I was moving from Typepad to WordPress.
In bigger news, whichI posted to my new bloga couple of weeks ago, I am also seeking new professional opportunities in 2009.
The full text of that post is reproduced, below, and will be my last posting here.
In September 2005, I took the daunting step of leaving the safety, familiarity and final salary pension of the UK public sector to join the Senior Management Team of a commercial technology company;Talis.
I will be taking a bigger step in 2009, when I move from full time employment with Talis to see what else I am capable of as an independent consultant.
A lot has happened since 2005. I joined a provider of software to UK libraries that had aspirations to be something bigger, and played my part in the team that made sure we got there. Operating entirely on money the company earned through its existing product lines, with no debt and no external investors, we set about refreshing those existing products and challenging many of the sector’s long-held presumptions about engagement, participation, openness, innovation, and control. From Library 2.0 to Open Data, we were visible on a global stage, we were active, and with white papers, public speaking, blogging, podcasting, facilitation, cajoling, challenging and networking Talis played a significant part in shaping perceptions that are now widely viewed as norms.
The company had bigger fish to fry, though, having embarked upon an ambitious development programme to deliver a technologyPlatformupon which the next generation ofSemantic Webapplications could be built. Talis set about assembling the talent required to build that Platform, and I set about building brand recognition in markets and territories where Talis was previously unknown.
“Talis is a 40-year old UK software company which has created a semantic web application platform. They are a bit different from the other 9 companies profiled here, as Talis has released a platform and not a single product. The Talis platform is kind of a mix between Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web, in that it enables developers to create apps that allow for sharing, remixing and re-using data. Talis believes thatOpen Datais a crucial component of the Web, yet there is also a need to license data in order to ensure its openness. Talis has developed its own content license, called the Talis Community License, and recently they funded some legal work around theOpen Data Commons License.
According to Dr Paul Miller, Technology Evangelist at Talis, the company’s platform emphasizes ‘the importance of context, role, intention and attention in meaningfully tracking behaviour across the web.’” (my links)
“Over the past year, Talis has continued to make a name for itself as an evangelist for the Semantic Web, most notably through thebloggingand podcasting [1,2] activities of Paul Miller. Talis also produces a great magazine for Semantic Web, calledNodalities, and has an active companyblogunder the same name. As for the company’s products, theplatformseems to be iterating nicely and is being used in niche library and government applications.
RWW verdict one year later: Talis has successfully positioned itself as an authority on Semantic Web in the blogosphere, which we love because it’s a great way to keep track of Semantic Web trends!” (my links)
Through our blogs, our podcasts, our magazine, our presentations and our support for the community, Talis has played a key role in raising awareness and credibility for the Semantic Web as something more than an academic exercise. Talis, and others, have set about demonstrating that it offers a viable set of technologies that reach to the heart of business processes in a wide range of areas. Through activities such as the monthlySemantic Web GangandZDNet’s Semantic Web blog, I have played my part in bringing together some of the key players and giving them a Platform on which to share their ideas and experiences.
We have been concerned with more than just technology, though, and have devoted as much time to understanding and illustrating the economic, strategic and organisational disruptions that face businesses now and moving forward. Our early and ongoing support for the Open Data cause is a case in point, underpinning our shared belief that value is shifting at many points throughout the enterprise; previously hoarded data is nolessvaluable than it was, necessarily, but the opportunities to benefit when the value proposition is reconsidered from the perspective of the open Web are enormous.
I have played a significant part in all of this, and have learned much from the differing perspectives, backgrounds and experiences of my colleagues inside Talis… and all of the people I’ve met outside the company.
As Talis moves into 2009, ready to focus far more on showing how its products and solutions will solve customers’ problems, the time has come for me to look for new challenges. I’ve been careful not to gratuitously push Talis products over the years, and I believe that I have been successful in explaining complex issues in an accessible fashion along the way. I hope that I have demonstrated neutrality, authority, and perspective, even whilst in the full time employ of a single company. There’s a lot to build upon there, and a real opportunity to extend that reach even further. So I’m going to be setting out on my own and taking on work with clients that can benefit from that track record. Analysis, consulting, advice, speaking engagements and more.
I’ve started talking to a lot of people recently, and am already noticing some very interesting prospects which I will be firming up now that this news has entered the public domain. I’m always open to additional offers, of course!
And the first customer for the newly independent me? Talis. My current employer will be contracting part of my time to continue working on some of the broader external activities I was already doing for them. TheSemantic Web Gang, for example, will continue to be underwritten by Talis, and I remain its host.
So interesting times lie ahead. I’m excited by the opportunity and daunted by the challenge in almost equal parts. I look forward to seeing where this leads next, and I am sure that I shall see many of you along the way.
Back in the old days, I was a voracious consumer of 'feeds' (or RSS, as we called them way back when). I followed 5-600 of these things and did a pretty good job of keeping up, reading the key ones every day and putting the dead time on a four-five hour round-trip train journey to London each week (remember, this was in the days before wi-fi on the train and 3G cards in the laptop) to work as I read through whatever backlog was left in my newsreader (NetNewsWire).
Most of the feeds I read were produced by individuals, and I made a point (partly because of the offline way in which much of the reading was done) of not subscribing to any of those annoying people who only included partial posts within the feed itself.
Then all sorts of things changed. I moved job, and lost that train journey. My priorities shifted with greater regularity, and it was too big a job to re-align all those blog feeds every time I needed to reflect a change of emphasis. Blog search tools got better. I found myself reading through the collected posts to any one blog less and less, and flitting through the results returned by searches and alerts more and more.
Now, though, I'm trying again. I'm back using NetNewsWire (now free) and I have a tight set of 30-40 content feeds, supplemented by all those same canned searches with Google Blog Search, Technorati, et al, and the alerts targetted deep into theFinancial Times,New York Times, etc.
Newsgator's (the company that now owns NetNewsWire)mobile interfaceis a powerful addition to reading behaviour; it synchronises my list of feeds with NetNewsWire, and simply displays those feeds with new content to read. It's perfect for those idle moments, and prevents the body of content growing too large between sessions sat in front of NetNewsWire itself. Thenew iPhone applicationlooks like it will improve this still further when it's released next month.
As for the feeds themselves? Far more of them are those annoying ones that only deliver the first part of the post. Roll on 11 July and a 3G iPhone to make that particular annoyance a little less disruptive to workflow.
It's alongway! Almost 30 hours, door to door, from sunny East Yorkshire to rainy Beijing. Emirates impressed as an airline, although with (much) better entertainment system Manchester-Dubai and (much) better food (and metal cutlery!), Dubai-Beijing. Let's try for good foodandgood entertainment on the way back, eh?
Nadeemwas a life-saver at Dubai, waving his magic card to get all five members of the Talis contingent into an executive lounge for breakfast, showers, and a comfy seat for our three and a half hours in Dubai. Palm trees in the terminal, but not a camel to be seen.
In Beijing, the new-ish airport is truly immense... and all built in the time it took the committee to decide what colour the floor tiles should be at Heathrow T5.
Finally reached our hotel at about 2am this morning... to be told our rooms weren't available. Much debate ensued, which eventually saw us shipped to a different hotel for the night. Now back where we should be, and grappling with the foibles of Chinese internet policy; some sites (like this hosted blogging service) work when you wouldn't expect them to, and other entirely non-controversial locations appear blocked. The corporate VPN is proving unwilling to cooperate at the moment, which makes getting at mail a challenge.
Right, off to finish a presentation for tomorrow...
Tomorrow,Tom,Nad,Rob,Chrisand I are off to China forWWW2008. We're on two separate planes from the UK to Dubai, but meet up there for the onward journey to Beijing on Sunday morning.
We've got quite a presence in theLinked Data on the Web workshopon Tuesday, which Tom is co-chairing, and then Chris has a paper onFriday. It looks as if I'm moderating a panel straight after his slot on Friday too, which should be fun.
Chinese firewall rules etc permitting, I hope to be blogging proceedings onNodalitiesand at my latest blogging venue; theSemantic Web blogover on ZDNet. There might even be some contributions on other media channels; more onthatlater!
It's the day beforeIanand I set off for theWeb 2.0 Summitand associated activities in San Francisco, which means it's time to overload the National Grid chargingiPods,headphones, cellphones, pdas,laptops, and the rest.
It's also time to start clock-watching forBritish Airways' online check-in to open just after lunch... asSeatGurusuggests there are onlyfour'green' seats in our cabin... and we want two of them.
I wonder if there are any good films/movies on the flight? First, though, to tackle the list of jobs thatreallyought to be done before I fly...
This time we're taking in a couple of North American capital cities, doing Ottawa and Washington back-to-back. Oh, and Toronto. But only because Air Canada appear not to fly direct between the two on a weekend, and I'm not convinced that moving from one claustrophobic aluminium tube to another at an airport counts as visiting a place.
I'm clearly destinedneverto see Ottawa when the canal is fit for skating on...
So for anyone in Ottawa, and anyone in or heading to DC for ALA; see you there!
I've beenitchingto tell people aboutthisfor a while. Now officially mentioned on thenew web site'snews page, and in ournew CTO's blog. Lots of 'new', but still plenty of 'good old...', and room for a whole heap more 'new', too, so watch this space!