Trends and Transients 2016



Each year there are more new technologies to keep track of, more ways to organise your life and your company's information, more ways to communicate. This session will introduce you to new and potentially over-hyped technologies, discuss older, overlooked technologies, and entertain you at the same time. Our expert speakers will debate the current issues, giving you the benefit of their wide experience and differing points of view, so you can decide for yourself which technologies will meet your needs and which are a waste of your time.

This course is chaired by Lauren Wood and taught by Jeni Tennison, Jo Rabin, Martin Poulter, and Paul Downey.

Classes for 2016

The Trends and Transients course runs on .

The challenges of building a strong data infrastructure

Taught by Jeni Tennison.

In the 21st century, data is infrastructure for our economy, just like roads. In this session, Jeni will talk about the big challenges of building a strong data infrastructure: challenges of equality of access, challenges of privacy and trust, and the technical challenges of discovery and interoperability.

Registers: authoritative data you can trust

Taught by Paul Downey.

This talk will introduce work led by the Government Digital Service to establish an ecosystem of linked, canonical registers across government, and demonstrate how they are being used to improve digital services and increase the trust citizens may place in data kept and maintained by government organisations, through referential integrity and by providing digital proofs of integrity and authenticity.

GDS article written by Paul on linking registers.

Human civilisation in a subroutine

Taught by Martin Poulter.

Wikimedia is the project to make the sum of human knowledge freely accessible and remixable by everyone on the planet. This includes the highly popular Wikipedia, but as well there are many other, less well-known, communities and tools. All our work is driven by principles of openness and by the effort to make knowledge accessible to machines (in the form of searchable Linked Data) as well as to humans.

We are collecting digital images of artworks from galleries and museums around the world, and text from out-of-copyright books, and anyone can retrieve these and interact with them in XML. What's particularly exciting is the rapid development of Wikidata, which aims to make as much knowledge as possible available in machine-readable form. Because Wikidata has so many kinds of data, about many millions of things, we can do unusual queries (using SPARQL) and get the results in a machine-readable way via a RESTful API.

The impact of this is that you can incorporate routines in your software which retrieve text, images, or facts in any topic, from the sum of human knowledge and culture.

Adblocking, Block Chain, Copyright ... a new ABC for the Internet

Taught by Jo Rabin.

The Web is a wonderful thing whose success was arguably a result of its simplicity and focus on the free exchange of information.

Of course it's now used for quite a few things where free exchange of content is not what's wanted. Security and payment are both "must have". Subscription models work to some degree, but only for a limited number of top tier content brands. For everyone else there is a Faustian agreement between publishers, who rarely make significant amounts of money; advertisers, who pay significant amounts of money but do not necessarily get good value from the money they spend and content consumers who get increasingly fed up with the irrelevance and intrusiveness of advertising, driven by publishers' need to increase their revenue.

Recognising that there isn't enough advertising value to pay content providers and there's already much too much advertising for content consumers to stomach is an economic imbalance that is very problematic. The arrival of adblocking technology looks set to make this imbalance even worse, with an arms race starting between publishers and blockers.

Thinking this though leads to a interesting journey that takes in a wide range of ideas, including copyright (what is it for and is it still relevant), document identification (Handles, DOIs and more) and even the block chain (mind you, there's hardly anything that doesn't feature as a candidate application for block chain).

In this session we'll take a semi-structured ramble through parts of this journey, skipping through some and lingering over others.