Over 1,300 people registered for the Semantic Web Webinar Series: Discover the Semantic Web and both Christine Connors and myself were delighted with the attendance and the feedback we received.
Like Christine explained during our introduction, as attendee registrations were coming through we regularly reviewed the list, wanting to make sure that we were writing for our actual audience. What we found were strong numbers in three types of business role in particular – and happily for us, the three categories we most wanted to engage as part of this series as described below.
To further validate the attendees and get a feeling for where our enterprise customers are, during the webinar the first poll that we conducted was a simple one to record where attendees were in regards to their experience with semantic web. The following results are the aggregate of the two sessions:
When you think about Semantic Web, what is the first thought that pops into your head?
61.2 % > I am new to the Semantic Web and Interested in Learning More
26.4% > I am currently knowledgeable on the Semantic Web and would like to expand this knowledge
12.4% > I am currently involved in Semantics-related project in my company
Being that part one of the series was titled DIscover, the target level of expertise was perfect.
Looking through the final list of registered attendees, I took their titles and made the following Wordle to provide a visualization of the titles of the attendees. The word ‘Manager’ certainly appeared a lot (many times with additional information like “Manager of Information Center”) as well as Director hence the larger presence of those terms, but here is what it looks like:
The three categories we most wanted to engage as part of this series were the following categories and the majority of the attendees could be bucketed into them:
Library and Information Science Professionals
We had a good number of folks joining with library and information science backgrounds. Christine and I share that background, and Dow Jones is a great supporter of info pros . We believe that Librarians have a critical role to play in the future of the semantic web. The ability to provide access to comprehensive, annotated, carefully curated data in the highly collaborative environment that is the web has never been more vital. We can’t think of a profession more suited to the task. Nor can we think of anyone in our semweb social network who doesn’t love librarians!
Next had information architects – user experience designers, interaction designers, taxonomists – Big IA, Little IA – however you choose to define them people who are passionate about delivering easy to use interfaces between humans and information. And the bottom line? WE NEED YOU! The semantic web presents a new paradigm for data and tools. We need creative, practical people to think about new patterns for interacting with data on the web.
Finally, we had the business champions – executives, analysts, program managers. You may have heard that the semantic web is a solution in search of a problem. And as we will be covering in this Series of webinars, the semantic web is a potential solution for existing problems. We’ve seen this shift before: we didn’t need email – we had fax machines to move documents quickly while maintaining a paper trail. But we are willing to bet that you wouldn’t like it if they took away your inbox (well, permanently anyway!). Business Champions are doing their organizations a disservice if they simply dismiss a semantic solution. As we discussed in the webinar, put in in the mix of options to consider; occasionally it won’t yet work, sometimes it will be a stretch, but often it will be a perfect fit.