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Created: January 06, 2005.
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XTech 2005 Conference Adds New Tracks for Browser Technology and Open Data.

Edd Dumbill, XTech 2005 Conference Chair, has issued a renewed Call for Participation in connection with the XTech 2005 Conference, to be held May 24-27, 2005 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The deadline for proposals is January 7, 2005.

XTech is successor to the IDEAlliance XML Europe Conference, which has now widened its scope to incorporate neighboring technologies from the web and business. XTech 2005 is produced by IDEAlliance, co-hosted by OASIS, and co-located with the Gilbane Conference on Content Management Technologies.

XTech 2005 is the premier European conference for developers and managers working with XML and Web technologies, bringing together the worlds of web development, open source, semantic web, weblogging, search, and open standards.

Four tracks are planned for XTech 2005: Core Technologies, Applications, Browser Technology, and Open Data.

The Core Technologies track is the traditional home ground of developer-focused technical talks at XTech, where presentations will focus on "XML standards, new XML applications, techniques for processing XML, and other hardcore markup topics. Presenters and attendees include core members of the XML community and standards groups, developers and markup geeks. Topics include, but are not limited to XML standards and processing, RDF and OWL, markup technologies, databases, and search.

The XTech 2005 Applications Track "covers the use of XML, web and knowledge technologies with talks aimed at both technical and managerial attendees. Applications is the place for deployment stories, open source implementations, new vocabularies and integration. Topics include, but are not limited to: publishing; topic maps; DocBook, and other open source tools; e-business; web services and integration.

The new Browser Technology track has been scheduled in recognition of the fact that "Web browser technology is now reinvigorated. "At the same time as standards, security and usability are playing a key role in the resurgence of browser competition, new platforms such as mobile devices provide new arenas for development. Web standards are on the move again, and with forms being increasingly important to many companies and governments, the work on XForms and the WHATWG is an important subject area for many. Topics include, but are not limited to: Mozilla, Safari, Opera, IE; XForms, SVG, CSS, XHTML; Compound Document Formats; WHATWG; mobile browser technology."

A new Open Data conference track is planned to support the increasing number of information owners who are choosing to be in the web, not just on it. "Opening up data encourages its creative re-use, empowers citizens and can create new commercial opportunities. As well as governments, commercial organisations and content owners such as Amazon, Google and the BBC are experimenting with open data. At an individual level, exciting open data developments are happening through movements such as blogging and social networking. This track will contain talks at all levels, from business and policy to implementation, covering the possibilities, problems and practicalities of a web of open data."

Topics appropriate for the XTech 2005 Open Data track include, but are not limited to: Open government; Business models and deployment issues for public-facing Web services; RSS, geocoding, FOAF, annotation; OAI, Open Access, and the Science Commons; Licensing, IP, Creative Commons; Blogging and personal content; Semantic web.

The XTech 2005 Planning Committee includes Dan Brickley (W3C), Eric van der Vlist (Dyomedea), Jeni Tennison (Jeni Tennison Consulting), Matt Biddulph (BBC Radio and Music Interactive), and Marion Elledge (IDEAlliance).

About the Open Data Movement

One of the new tracks at XTech 2005 will be called Open Data. Edd Dumbill has outlined the rationale for this track in an article and in a blog entry Open Data at XTech 2005:

"An increasing number of information owners are choosing to expose their data on the Web. Opening up data encourages its creative reuse, empowers citizens, and can create new commercial opportunities. Along with governments, commercial organizations and content owners such as Amazon, Google, and the BBC are experimenting with open data. At an individual level, exciting open data developments are happening through movements such as blogging and social networking...

The Open Data track will address concerns at all levels, from business and policy through to implementation, and cover topics such as open government, business models and deployment issues for public-facing web services, open access to scientific data, licensing and intellectual property concerns, blogging and personal content, and the Semantic Web...

I've identified several Open Data strands that I see coming together:

  • Open government. The provision of data by government allows citizens to empower themselves, make connections in order to keep governments accountable, and to enable them to use the data in original ways to get more value from their tax payments. There are lots of examples in which this data is being used already by citizens, including most prominently mapping and electoral monitoring. For government organisations, there are many policy and technical decisions to be made around releasing data. Issues at stake for citizens include campaigning for the freedom of the data and the ways it which can be used.

  • Public web services. Companies like Amazon and Google are proof that web services can enhance commerce and create meaningful new markets. For everyone deploying public web services there are issues of business model and technology choice to face.

  • Grassroots data. Technologies such as RSS, geocoding, FOAF and annotation are giving rise to an increasing web of data, created by individuals. Is there a trend, or is the development random? What technologies should we be watching? What privacy issues are created?

  • Scientific and academic publishing. There is an increasing movement to ensure scientific data and other scholarly works is widely available, to take advantage of the connected worldwide academic communities in order to foster progress. Projects at the forefront of this include Science Commons [news story], Open Archives Initiative and the Open Access Movement. There are issues on both sides of the divide. How can publishers who rely on expensive journals respond to the demand for access to information? How can academics successfully disseminate their work?

  • Intellectual Property. The hottest topic on the internet this year. Digital rights management. How can artists be paid for their work without removing steadily more rights from the consumer? The erosion of fair use. The rise of Creative Commons.

  • Blogging and personal content. As blogs turn from personal journals to effective means of communication in corporate and non-profit use, what are the issues? How controlled should blogs be? Are they sustainable? Which software should we use?

  • Semantic web. Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the semantic web encompasses all of the above topics, but has a hard edge too in the technologies and standards being developed to underpin the emergent web of data. Technical aspects of the semantic web will be dealt with in the Core Technologies and Applications track, but the Open Data track is the home for policy issues relating to semantic web development..."

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