[ WWW2004 logo - takes you to the conference's web site ]

Trip Report WWW2004
May 18-22 2004, New York City, USA

  1. pre-conference activities (may 14-17, 2004)
  2. conference at a glance:
    1. some basic facts
    2. the quote i liked best
    3. a brief summary
  3. tutorials (may 18, 2004)
  4. first day (may 19, 2004)
  5. second day (may 20, 2004)
  6. third day (may 21, 2004)
  7. developer's day (may 22, 2004)
  8. documentation
  9. other trip reports
  10. previous conferences

1. pre-conference activities:

zürich - new york city by plane | new york city in 3 days (may 14-17, 2004)

i flew from zürich airport (ZRH) to john f. kennedy airport new york (JFK) on friday, may 14, 2004 on board of a Swiss Airbus A-330. even if we left zürich half an hour late, we arrived in new york ten minutes early. the flight was easy and convenient. i had a chance to glimpse down while we flew over st. johns, later the sky was cloudy.

on saturday, i walked down the broadway from 53rd street where i stayed at the sheraton hotel and towers all the way down to the battery park. on sunday, we visited the central park and the campus of the columbia university.

[ more pictures from the flight ] [ more pictures from new york city ] [ more impressions from new york city ]
the white cross is still in the air battery park city, the most beautiful part of new york city new york city - a photographer's paradise

[ more about new york city ] more about new york city ...

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2. conference at a glance:

some basic facts:

  1. the sheraton hotel and towers congress center was a suitable host for this conference, but quite expensive. the rooms were ok, the high speed Internet connection worked very well but at the cost of another $14.95 per day. the WLAN worked most of the time with good performance. there were not as many power plugs as in budapest, attendees often sat on the floor just to be close to a power outlet.

  2. unfortunately, they did not provide a list of attendees. at the registration desk, they couldn't even tell how may attendees they had this year. my guess is that there were about 1000. i know of 5 people from switzerland.

  3. the so called "conference banquet" was quite a disappointment - there is much more to new york city than the tiny balcony of grand station ...

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the quote i liked best:

the pessimist says: "the glass is half empty".
the optimist says: "the glass is half full".
the engineer says: "the glass is twice the size it should be !"

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a brief summary:

  1. it was all about semantic web ! there was probably not a single session where the terms "semantic web" and "onthology" haven't been mentioned at least a dozen times - not to mention the abbreviation "RDF". so why is the web still chaotic, unstructured, un-annotated and not semantic ? in my opinion mainly because RDF etc. is just too complicated to use and it does not pay off. if portals and search engines would make use of semantic data, so that (commercial) websites could actually take advantage of the added metadata, the semantic web would probably become reality over night. on the other hand, adobe made its products RDF enabled, so there are at least some commercial products on the market now, that can add and take advantage of metadata, that's at least a beginning ...
    one of the panelists mentioned during the session "will the semantic web scale ?" that librarians were classifying and categorizing information since decades. so if we take the semantic web serious, i believe that people from the IT department, public relations and libraries should come together and start taking care of the web. there is more to the web presence of a company or university than just technology, or plain marketing or collecting documents - it is all of that ! the web is where it comes together: the (IT) technicians providing a solid and reliable server platform and tools to maintain documents, the marketers providing the information that we want to provide inside our organization and to the public and the librarians who organize, describe and classify the information so that it is useful for humans and machines alike. unfortunately, there are two words that tend to hinder this collaboration: "power" and "control" ...

  2. web services are kind of "the other half of the web" - if it is not "semantic web", then it is "web services". as with the semantic web, everybody talks about it but they are hardly used yet. however, there are tools around to write and use web services and they are a great extension to the web. i'm very positive that we will see a lot of useful web services soon.

  3. device independence and accessibility are still hot topics. in the meantime, more than 15 countries have accessibility guidelines, policies or even legislations, including switzerland, see www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/151_3/index.html (in German) and especially article 14 (also in German). the W3C tries - unfortunately rather unsuccessfully - to harmonize these regulations. nevertheless the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is an important initiative and deserves all support that we can provide. to some extend, accessibility and device independence go hand in hand. there are interesting activities going on to provide access to content device independent. both, accessibility and small devices depend on the separation of content and presentation in order to present information to the user in the most appropriate way.
    access to content with small devices such as PDAs and smart phones will become much more important with the growing availability of wireless Internet access. when wireless access is available all over major cities, people will use their PDAs and smart phones to get information about time tables, schedules, events - both business and leisure - anytime, anywhere. providing device independent access to information may become a business critical issue.

  4. new top level domains are nothing but a pain in the ass. tim berner's lee said it much more politely, but he is obviously very concerned about the new top level domains that have been proposed by ICANN. "they will fragment the web", tbl said at the opening ceremony of this conference. there are other ways to distinguish content, rather than top level domains.
    from my point of view, there is only one way how individuals and companies alike should react to these proposed top level domains: ignore them, do not use them ! nobody but the registrars will take advantage of these new top level domains ...

  5. w3photo.org is an interesting project they started at this conference. the goal is to collect pictures from all past and future conferences and to put them up in galleries. of course, this shall become a semantic collection. they provide a tool to annotate the pictures using RDF photo, so people can add a story to the picture - or to parts of it - and preserve and share the memories connected with these photos.

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the 14th WWW conference (WWW2005):

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3. tutorials:

i attended two tutorials about the semantic web:

  1. TA3: getting into RDF and the semantic web using N3
  2. TP3: web development - intelligent information integration for the semantic web

[ more about the tutorials ] more ...

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4. first day:

opening ceremony:
tim berners-lee (also known as tbl) gave an entertaining and interesting speak - not only about the semantic web. he also mentioned:
  1. top level domains:
    • new top level domains break up the web - companies have to have many different domains (xyz.com / xyz.mobi / xyz.country)
    • label content rather than introduce new top-level domains
    • government must make sure that access to domains is fair
  2. RDF browsers:
    • server sends only data, browsers know how to display it (designers will cry out: "oh no !")
  3. semantic web phase 1:
    • RDF and OWL
  4. semantic web phase 2:
    • semantic web is for connecting things
    • semantic web can support search engines

the slides of tbl's talk are available on the web.


will the semantic web scale ?

panel discussion about the scaleability of the semantic web from a theoretical, technical and practical perspective.

[ more about will the semantic web scale ? ] more ...


web semantics and web services: a marriage made in heaven ?

there seems to be some common agreement that web services need more semantics. significant disagreement lies in what "more semantics" means. the panel discussed if web semantics and web services eventually may get married or not.

[ more about web semantics and web services ] more ...


long term preservation of digital archives:

rapid changes in technology make preservation of digital content a challenge. the panel discussed the long term implications if we rely on current digital technology to preserve our cultural memories.

[ more about long term preservation of digital archives ] more ...

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5. second day:

W3C: semantic web phase 2:

developments and deployments of new technologies geared towards the next phase of the semantic web.

[ more about semantic web phase 2 ] more ...


W3C: web services foundations and innovations:

web services choreography

[ more about web services foundations and innovations ] more ...


W3C: XML - progress report and new initiatives:

XSLT 2.0 / XML Query - XPath 2.0 / XML security

[ more about XML - progress report and new initiatives ] more ...

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6. third day:

W3C and the mobile web:

an overview of mobile web standards, requirements for a device independent web and new features in SVG 1.2.

[ more about W3C and the mobil web ] more ...


closing ceremony:
[ robert cailliau ]
  • during the closing ceremony, robert cailliau was acknowledge for his tremendous efforts and achievements for the world wide web community and the International World Wide Web Conference Committee (IW3C2). tim berners lee honored robert cailliau with a brief "laudation". unfortunately, robert was not able to participate in this conference.

  • riccardo mazza of the university of lugano, switzerland was awarded best alternate track paper. congratulation !

  • WWW2005 will take place in chiba, japan. the site was presented very invitingly with a brief, but charming movie.

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7. developer's day:


an open source web search application software.

[ more about nutch ] more ...


photography markup:

an RDF implementation to annotate photographs.

[ more about photography markup ] more ...



XForms versus HTML forms - XForms and accessibility - XForms and security.

[ more about XForms ] more ...

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8. documentation:

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9. other trip report's:

Please check out these other trip reports:

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10. trip reports from previous conferences:

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production note:

this trip report was written on a IBM A31 notebook with Softquad HoTMetaL. this document is supposed to be HTML V4.0 compliant.

index.html / 04-jan-2005 (ra) / reto ambühler
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