The 8th European Summer School on Ontological Engineering and the Semantic Web (SSSW 2011) took place from 10 to 16 July in Cercedilla (Spain), confirming the SSSW series as the premiere educational event in the area of semantic technologies. Indeed, despite the plethora of educational events which have sprung up in the past few years and despite the attempts from other schools to replicate the SSSW approach, this was arguably the most successful SSSW event ever, attracting 140 applications (for 50 places) from 38 countries, as well as sponsorship from 16 different organizations, drawn from both academia and industry.
The groundbreaking SSSW series of summer schools started in 2003 and over the years has established a unique reputation for the quality of its teaching, which is based on an innovative pedagogical model, combining the practical with the theoretical, and adding teamwork and a competitive element to the mix. In addition, SSSW summer schools provide a stimulating environment in which participants benefit not only from the formal and practical sessions but also from informal and social interactions with both world-class researchers and the other participants to the school. To ensure such intensive interaction, a very high tutor-to-student ratio is implemented.
In conclusion, in an increasingly crowded landscape of educational events SSSW remains the ‘real thing’ and once again upheld its reputation as the leading educational event in the Semantic Web area. Eight years after its initial pioneering effort, SSSW continues to provide distinctive value and a unique experience to students from all over the world.