Amy Guy

Raw Blog

Monday, September 17, 2012

University 3.0

Even though I don't officially start my PhD until the 1st of October, today really felt like a proper first day of term.  I got up early went to a couple of fourth year/MSc classes that I've decided to sit in on (HCI and Text Technologies), went to training for tutoring/demonstrating, filled in some forms, got my new student card (that doesn't expire until 2016!) and most importantly, got the key to my office in the Informatics Forum.

My PhD ideas are vague at best right now, though it'll definitely be within the realms of the Semantic Web.  According to the proposal I wrote to apply for the position back in May, it'll be to do with provenance of and collaborative creation of digital media artefacts, like comics and films.  It'll be interesting to watch that morph and change.

Though I became aware of Semantic Web stuff during my undergraduate, I developed my knowledge during my MSc at Edinburgh.  Primarily by taking the Multi-Agent Semantic Web Systems course for credit, enjoying it a lot and doing pretty well.  (I should be TAing/marking for that this year).  I also learnt lots about linked data and other such things at conferences and hacks like Dev8D, and various open data meet-ups.  I'm super excited about the future of the Internet - particularly making sure it remains an open, public platform for uncensored expression and knowledge sharing (fingers crossed).  Since I'm a technologist, not a lawyer or policy-maker, I have to address this with theoretical and practical research around how people create and share things, and ways to improve connectivity (between people and data), which of course includes the big problems like privacy, security and identity.

Whilst I'm confident enough to say I know quite a lot about designing and developing for the Web these days, my Semantic Web knowledge really consists of a basic grounding, and a lot of enthusiasm.

There's a ton of research going on in various related areas, so I've decided to read one or two relevant academic papers a day... forever, I guess... and make notes on what I read.  Publishing my notes here works as a subconscious stimulant, to make sure I actually get it done.  A lot of them might be foundations, or basic stuff, but I intend to cram as much as possible - especially in the couple of weeks before I start propertly.  So look out for those! (If you're interested.  If not, ignore them).