Scale, Structure, and Semantics

This morning I had the pleasure to present a keynote address at the Semantic Technology & Business Conference (SemTechBiz). I’ve had a long and warm relationship with the semantic technology community — especially with Marco Neumann and the New York Semantic Web Meetup.

But I’m not exactly a fanboy of the semantic web, and I wasn’t sure how the audience would respond to some of my more provocative assertions. Fortunately the reception was very positive. Several people approached me afterwards to thank me for presenting a balanced argument for combining big data with structured representations and for raising HCIR issues.

A couple of people felt that faceted search was old news. I’m delighted that faceted search is becoming increasingly common, but there is still a lot of opportunity to use it more often and more effectively, And I was pleasantly surprised at the interest in discussing extensions of faceted search to address relationships between entities, as well as other nuances. I’ll have to dive into those in future posts.

For now, I hope you enjoy the slides, and I encourage you to ask questions in the comments.

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.

5 replies on “Scale, Structure, and Semantics”


Really like the way you have articulated semi-structured search space. There are a ton of problems between structured and unstructured data worlds that can benefit from techniques used in both extremes.

And I completely agree with your assertion that “knowledge representation is overrated”. Most semweb related folks have an almost religious insistence on the “one true way” of representing data and consequently lose the plot on how diverse real-world data and its representation can be.

Very useful slide, thanks for sharing!


Mahesh, you are most welcome! Thank you for the comments. I can’t speak for most semweb folks, but I was glad that many of the conference attendees were open-minded about their data representations. That said, it was a Semantic Technology and Business Conference.


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