web of data, web of people, web of action

Alan Dix
Lancaster University and Talis

Keynote i-USEr 2010, Shah Alam, Malaysia, 13th Dec. 2010

download slides (PDF), at 2 slides per page (2up, 2.5Mb) or 6 slides per page (6up, 2.3Mb, smaller print, but less paper):

Full reference:
A. Dix (2010). web of data, web of people, web of action. Keynote i-USEr 2010, Shah Alam, 13th December 2010.
Try it yourself:
play with Snip!t
virtual cracker send a virtual cracker or use the crackers app on FaceBook

FireFly lights on a Chritsmas tree
FireFly - one thousand computers on a Christmas tree

vfridge front page
vfridge - a fridge door on the web


Computers only exist because they do things for people.

From human readable web pages, to formal semantics of linked data and the emergent social semantics of tags and folksonomies, we routinely look to the web as both a source of information and a place to put data. However, the web is also a locus of action: users want to get things done, whether booking a hotel room, or editing an online spreadsheet. The boundaries between web and desktop interaction are blurring. On the one hand, the traditional PC desktop is now inhabited by widgets such as the Mac Dashboard, web fast-download apps such as Java Web Start or Adobe Air, and expanded browser functionality such as Chrome. On the other hand, computation and applications that once were part of the desktop are now hosted on the web (for example word-processing with Google Docs), and various technologies enable web applications to function even when users have no connectivity to the internet. Furthermore, in emerging markets such as India and China, this convergence will be total, as the sole computing experience for many will be through mobile devices and predominantly the web. This talk will explore the premise that this emerging web will be a place of action, not just information, and that the purpose of global data is ultimately to serve human needs.

This talk is based loosely on a recent paper in the Journal of Web Semantics:
A. Dix , G. Lepouras, A. Katifori, C. Vassilakis, T. Catarci, A. Poggi, Y. Ioannidis, M. Mora, I. Daradimos, N. Md.Akim, S.R. Humayoun, F. Terella (2010). From the Web of Data to a World of Action. Journal of Web Semantics, Special Issue on Exploring New Interaction Designs Made Possible by the Semantic Web. 8(4), pp. 394-408 http://www.hcibook.com/alan/papers/JWS-2010-world-of-action/


reconstructed vfridge at www.vfridge.com (note original 2000 deisgn!)


Use it online at www.snipit.org

The project where the idea originated:

But note the observation that people wanted to bookmark portions of web pages was NOT part of the project aims. Although focus is important during research, it is also worth keeping an eye out for other things they sometimes end up being more significant than what you are looking for!

Snip!t is decribed in a number of papers including:

  • A. Dix, T. Catarci, B. Habegger, Y. Ioannidis, A. Kamaruddin, A. Katifori, G. Lepouras, A. Poggi, D. Ramduny-Ellis (2006). Intelligent context-sensitive interactions on desktop and the web. Proceedings of the international Workshop in Conjunction with AVI 2006 on Context in Advanced Interfaces. (Venice, Italy, May 23, 2006), ACM Press , pp. 23-27
    abstract and paper | ACM DOI
  • A. Dix (2008). Tasks = data + action + context: automated task assistance through data-oriented analysis. keynote at Engineering Interactive Systems 2008 , (incorporating HCSE2008 & TAMODIA 2008), Pisa Italy, 25-26 Sept. 2008 .
    abstract and links

Personal ontologies and spreading activation

  • Katifori, A., Vassilakis, C., Daradimos, I., Lepouras, G., Ioannidis, Y., Dix, A., Poggi, A., Catarci, T.: Personal Ontology Creation and Visualization for a Personal Interaction Management System. In: Workshop on The Disappearing Desktop: Personal Information Management 2008. CHI2008, (2008) [PDF]
  • Sauermann, L.: The Gnowsis Semantic Desktop for Information Integration. In: The 3rd Conference on Professional Knowledge Management, pp. 39–42 (2005)
  • Katifori, A., Vassilakis, C., Dix, A.: Using Spreading Activation through Ontologies to Support Personal Information Management. In: Common Sense Knowledge and Goal-Oriented Interfaces (CSKGOI 2008) (workshop at 2008 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI 2008). CEUR Workshop Proceedings Vol 323 (2008).
  • A. Katifori, C. Vassilakis and A. Dix (2010). Ontologies and the Brain: Using Spreading Activation through Ontologies to Support Personal Interaction. Cognitive Systems Research, 11 (2010) 25–41.
    abstract and links
  • A. Dix, A. Katifori, G. Lepouras, C. Vassilakis and N. Shabir (2010). Spreading Activation Over Ontology-Based Resources: From Personal Context To Web Scale Reasoning. International Journal of Semantic Computing, Special Issue on Web Scale Reasoning: scalable, tolerant and dynamic. 4(1) pp.59-102.
    abstract and draft paper | doi: 10.1142/S1793351X10000973
  • Anderson, J.: A spreading activation theory of memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour, 22, 261–295 (1983)



Alan Dix 13/12/2010