Wherein the IngentaConnect Product Management, Engineering, and Sales Teams
ramble, rant, and generally sound off on topics of the day

Amazon + Ingenta + SPARQL = nifty

Friday, April 21, 2006

This week, I've been playing with merging multiple RDF data sources, and doing SPARQL queries across the set. This should let us offer enhanced metadata on the website...

Here's the imaginary future IngentaConnect abstract page (in an audio browser):
What's that you say user? You enjoyed reading "Obesity and Poverty" on Ingenta? Did you know that people who bought it on Amazon, also bought... What's that? You're thinking of buying a hard copy so you can read it again in the bath? Well it's up to you, but now it's £28 from the big yellow place..."

"Hey, pal, I notice you're reading "Realising the Full Potential of the Web" on Ingenta Do you realise that's by Tim Berners-Lee? Did you know that he's geolocated at 42.361860,-71.091840? eh?

In order to experiment with merge queries, I first had a go at implementing the SPARQL Protocol using Jena.

You submit a GET which goes:
query=[Scary SPARQL query]
& default-graph-uri=[metastore.ingenta.com]
& named-graph-uri=[URI of some other RDF data]

(line breaks added for clarity)
For default-graphs, the service tries to open a connection to a known triplestore, for named-graphs it requests the document and reads it.

Next, I set up some demos:

Example 1. Merging with Amazon to enhance Book data

The demo is a form containing the query. Here's the the results (sorry it's a flat copy - can't open it up for real yet).

Data is merged from 3 sources:
  1. Book from metastore XML API(Flat copy).

   2. Book from Amazon (this is the real service live btw.)
I made this nice RDF/XML by URL pipelining standard stuff from their API with an XSLT stylesheet.

  3. An owl:sameAs statement - to hook em together.

2. Merging with personal FOAF documents to enhance Author data

Here's the query, and the results.

Data is merged from 2 sources:
   1. Metastore XML API: Article, Author
   2. An RDF business card document on the web
The two are merged by joining on surname.

I'll open the API for experimentation as soon as I can get it past the legal people. Registration of interest in that, comments, and suggestions for other merges, very welcome.

posted by Katie Portwin at 4:34 pm


Got Java?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

We're looking to recruit a couple of developers, senior ones at that, for our development teams, one in Bath and one in Oxford.

The official specifications are over here:

Actually, because we're looking to fill specific roles, the specs are pretty accurate, I think they are a fair representation of the skills and outlook we're seeking in candidates. If you can honestly say you meet most of the requirements, we'd like to hear from you.

What the specs can't tell you about is the atmosphere in ingenta engineering, although the South Park characters we use on the Blog might give you a clue! We're informal, but focused. We're a department with a lot of responsibility taken on by just a few people, consequently our processes are light, just what we need and no more. This means we spend a high proportion of our time on technical work, rather than on paperwork and meetings. We survived the boom and bust of the dot com bubble, and I'd like to think a little bit of that pioneering atmosphere is still present within ingenta.

So, if you live near either of our offices, and have the skills in the job specification, why not send us your CV ?

posted by John Clapham at 12:46 pm


"DSS feeds or whatever ... it all seems a bit complicated"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

This is a direct quotation from my mother; I was trying introduce her to RSS feeds so she would be able to keep up with various family members' blogs. My early explanations were evidently not simple enough, so in the end I put together the below as a dummy's mummy's guide to getting set up with RSS feeds.

RSS – an acronym often expanded as "really simple syndication" – is a way of being notified when a website you're interested in is updated, to save you having to keep going to check it. To use it, you need a feed reader. This is a bit of software which is either desktop or web-based. You can tell it which websites you're interested in, and it will periodically check and retrieve updates from those websites.

The one I use is a web-based one so I can check it from various computers. It is called Bloglines: http://www.bloglines.com/1, and having tried a few different readers, I have found it the simplest and quickest to configure, with sufficient (and appropriate) functionality to meet my needs. To set it up:

1. Register: http://www.bloglines.com/register/
This gives you an account to set up with all the feeds you want to read, and you can sign up for some initial feeds on the page you get when you click on the link in the confirmation email (e.g. you could choose "Music lover" from the list on the left, and then sign up for the BBC Music News feed by clicking that box. Or you could choose to be sent Dictionary.com's Word of the Day from the list on the right.)

2. Download the Notifier: http://www.bloglines.com/about/notifier
Choose the appropriate one for your operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac) – this puts a little icon in your system tray (bottom right area of your screen) which will tell you when there are new items in your chosen feeds. The notifier download can also be accessed via the Extras section in My Feeds (Download Notifier).

3. Add some feeds!
Ongoing, the easiest way (I find) to add a feed to your Bloglines account is to browse to the page from which you want to receive a feed, and press a "subscribe to this feed (or blog)" button. You can get the "easy subscribe" code as a bookmark from the "My Feeds" section extras – see "Easy Subscribe Bookmarklet". Once you've got it in your links toolbar, you simply click on it to locate and subscribe to the RSS feed for a web page – try it from this page to see what I mean!

Web pages usually have one of the following orange symbols to indicate that an RSS feed is available: But you can try clicking your "subscribe" button on any page; if the site doesn't have RSS, you will just get a message saying that Bloglines couldn't find an RSS feed for that page. If a feed is available, it might be in multiple formats but don't worry, Bloglines is able to cope with any of them so it doesn't really matter which one you choose. You can subdivide your feeds into folders to help keep on top of them.

You can also set up search feeds that will search all Bloglines-known blogs/sites for a specific term and alert you when it is mentioned; I do this to find out what people are saying about Ingenta. You need to search for your chosen keyword(s) in the box on the top right, and then click "Subscribe to this search" on the results page.

1As the good old BBC would put it, "other feed readers are available": many are as good and perhaps better in some respects than Bloglines. There are useful summaries/analyses of the most popular RSS readers at SearchEngineWatch. If you're brave, there's a pretty comprehensive, and helpfully annotated, list of available readers at http://allrss.com/rssreaders.html. ALPSP members who want to find out more should check out ALPSP's advice note 31 on RSS feeds.

posted by Charlie Rapple at 10:00 am


UKSG Annual Conference 2006

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This week I have mostly had my UKSG marketing hat, on and have been busily blogging the group's annual conference (held at University of Warwick, UK, from Monday to Wednesday). Check out the blog at http://liveserials.blogspot.com for reviews of (most of) the plenary sessions, and forthcoming reports on workshops and briefing sessions. Maybe even some photos if I can lay my hands on them (not being the type of phone sophisticate who has a camera phone, I'll be relying on others' contributions).

Lots of us from Ingenta attended – it was Leigh Dodds' first UKSG and I think we gave him a suitable baptism by fire (he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself when I left him geeking away in the bar at 1.45am yesterday). I got to meet some really interesting people, including Charles Oppenheim (Prof. Information Science at Loughborough University) and Péter Jacsó, Prof. Information Science at the University of Hawaii – with whom I have long corresponded but whom I had not previously had the opportunity to meet (shame it had to be on my territory rather than his!). I also got to meet several more of our librarian customers which is always a pleasure as I don't get to many library-focussed shows in the UK. And I managed not to fall up the steps when giving my product review so all in all, great show; more interesting version of its events at http://liveserials.blogspot.com.

posted by Charlie Rapple at 1:46 pm


The Team

Contact us

Recent Posts



Blogs we're reading

RSS feed icon Subscribe to this site

How do I do that

Powered by Blogger