Alistair Miles

Category: html

SKOS and RDFa in e-Learning

The W3C’s Semantic Web Deployment Working Group is developing two new technologies which may be relevant to e-learning technology. These are the Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS), and RDFa.

SKOS is a lightweight language for representing intuitive, semi-formal conceptual structures. So, for example, the figure below (taken from the SKOS Core Guide) depicts concepts with intuitive hierarchical and associative relationships to other concepts, and with preferred and alternative labels in one (or more) languages — these are the kinds of structures that can be expressed using SKOS. Once expressed in this form, conceptual structures can easily be published on the Web, shared between applications, linked/mapped to other conceptual structures and so on. Typically, these conceptual structures are used as tools for navigating around complex or unfamiliar subject areas, for retrieving information across languages, and for bringing together related information from different sources.

RDFa is a language for embedding richly structured data and metadata within Web pages. This allows a Web page to expose much of its underlying meaning to applications, enabling a range of new functionalities within Web clients, exchanging data between Web sites, services, and the users’ desktop applications. For example, a Web page about a new music album can use RDFa to embed structured data expressing facts about that album, such as the track listing, artist, links to sample media files etc. A Web browser with a suitable plugin or extension can use this data to offer new functions to the user, such as download the tracklisting with available samples to my music library, or compare prices from online vendors.

Both of these technologies are on the W3C Recommendation track, and are scheduled for completion in April 2008.

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Writing a Custom Widget Using Dojo 0.3.1

I’ve just written a custom widget using Dojo 0.3.1, it’s called “MoreOrLessText”. It’s not the most amazing thing in the world but it illustrates the general process of writing a custom widget, which might be useful given that the current documentation for Dojo can be a little confusing. Here’s what I did …

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W3C Semantic Web Deployment Working Group

In case you didn’t know, the W3C’s Semantic Web Activity has chartered a new working group called the Semantic Web Deployment Working Group to run from September/October 2006 for more or less two years. The main areas of work will be …

“Peek-a-boo” CSS Bug in IE6

In the process of rewriting the theme I use for this website, I ran across a bug in IE6 known as the “peek-a-boo” bug – where some parts of a page misteriously disappear when viewed in IE6, but then reappear when you switch between windows or select an area with the mouse. I found a web page describing the cause of the peekaboo bug and some fixes, although I found the bug persisted even after I had removed all float directives from the CSS file. Declaring position:relative or position:absolute for the problematic block fixed the problem.