Thursday. The day I was scheduled on. There would just be a morning session, leaving me with some time to make a presentation for friday and to take a look at Toronto itself. Could have done that on sunday, but the rain kept me solidly inside the hotel.
In the afternoon I visited the CN tower. High. And I think you can have a lot of fun as a social scientist observing people on the glass floor. The platform at some 400m height partly has a glass floor where you can look straight down to the ground. It's build to carry the weight of seven full-sized rhinos, but still. You need to flip over a mental switch to step on the psychological equivalent of empty air :-)
Doing a presentation invited mr. Murphy to pay me a visit and to put my alarm clock on 07:00. PM that is, instead of AM. So I had a good half-morning of sleep, missing at least two talks that I suspected would turn out pretty good. Bummer. Nico Scholten (TNO, the Netherlands): Building regulations - ICT instrumental to access the relevant clauses
In the Netherlands, 2003 saw a new version of the "building degree" (in Dutch: bouwbesluit), which meant a new version of TNO/BRIS's tool of 1992. A big problem were the long, wide tables you had to use to find the relevant clause. A computer screen just isn't wide enough.
TNO wants to have all standards in XML, then you can finally do some good searching on it. But they aren't built that way. So they do a lot themselves. Putting the laws and regulations into XML with good links between the different clauses is an excellent way to discover mistakes: missing documents, inexisting standards, faulty references... That's the poor quality you get when you create those documents with just a word processor...
Lessons learned from building their new "Bris information warehouse":
There is a huge variety in information. Most electronic stores are electronic versions of paper-based catalogues. The idea(l): generally available computer-readable catalugue data. Many research projects tried to tackle this.
There are a few commercial systems, almost all of which are classification-driven. A few systems add some parameters to the classification base.
Standards sometimes supported:
Barriers to development:
It's kinda hard to summarise my own talk. I wasn't too happy with it, but mostly because it's pretty hard to try to get the semantic web across. I really must find some better way to get it across. The idea is good and a lot of people agree that this is the way forward, but... I did find a few comments on the internet last week that should help me get the story clearer.
The main story was that:
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
Most of my website content is in my weblog. You can keep up to date by subscribing to the automatic feeds (for instance with Google reader):