Last week saw the third ESWC Summer School take place in the south of Crete in the beautiful village of Kalamaki. This event is tightly coupled with the ESWC Conference Series and as with the conference runs under the auspices of STI International the network organization focused in the area of semantics. As such the School aims to facilitate the creation of a new cohort of ESWC: Master’s, Ph.D. students and junior researchers who will in time become the next leaders of the ESWC conference and of the Semantic Web and Linked Data research areas in general.
One innovation in this year’s event was to base the technical tutorials on high quality Open Educational Resources (OERs) which have been created within the EU-funded EUCLID project. Within EUCLID we have created an eBook on Linked Data which is available in a variety of formats including for iPads, Kindles as well as in plain HTML. Using these materials all attendees where able to get a basic grounding in Linked Data before arrival.
The school was lucky to have a great set of Keynotes including: Prof. Stefan Decker of DERI in Galway, Ireland, Prof. Steffen Staab from the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany, Dr. Kieron O’Hara from the University of Southampton, Prof. Vassilis Christophides from the University of Crete and Marko Grobelnik from the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia.
From a lab point of view the School Administrator was Aneta Tumilowicz (who everyone thought did an absolutely fantastic job) and John Domingue was a School Director. One of the tutors Barry Norton is an ex-member of KMi now working as a development manager within a Linked Data project for the British Museum.
The immediate feedback from the students on the school was very positive and we are confident that we will soon be receiving testimonials as strong as we did for last year’s event. For example, last year we received the following from one Ph.D. student from Ghent:
“Looking back after two years, I can say that the ESWC summer school has been the most influential event in my research career so far. You get to know many people at once, giving your network a serious boost: you’ll never walk alone at any Semantic Web conference. For me, it has also been the start of two rewarding friendships and research collaborations. We all gladly look back at our time in Greece.”
The school was supported by a number of European projects in addition to EUCLID, including the network of excellence for Linked Data PlanetData, PRELIDA (which focuses on Linked Data preservation) as well as support from VideoLectures.net on recording the event.
We will now continue to run the event at the same location and time for the foreseeable future.