Tagging Matters

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Active Archives worksession

More images: http://gallery3.constantvzw.org/index.php/TaggingMatters

8 November: Presentation Oral Site @ Recyclart

9 - 12 November: Worksession @ Constant Variable

"Both standards and ontologies (the one apparently technical and the realm of machines, the other apparently philosophical and the realm of ideas) need to be socially, organizationally bundled – not as a perpetual afterthought but as an integral necessity." [1]

For the final Active Archive event in the context of the Archipel project [2], we want to explore the writerly work of tagging in relation to ideas behind the Semantic Web. Active Archives started on the principle of "we are no islands" [3], looking for ways of linking on-line resources with respect for specific data practices. Open Data, Linked Data and Resource Description Frameworks (RDF) promise the linkage of dispersed data without the need for centralization. Yet popular Semantic Web projects such as Freebase [4] and DBpedia [5] suggest a need for centralized linked data repositories. This workshop looks for a means of protecting "private" writing spaces that allow locality and difference to be preserved while still providing a means of making connections between institutions and individuals.

How can we take into account the actual work of marking up content while we "weave a web of data"? Fitting specific content into generalist schemas is not just a transparent layer that enables machines to finally 'read' the Web. For activists, artists and small cultural organisations who want to share data on-line, tagging matters as an intense editorial work which enables reflection and writing, rather than that it simply creates abstract possibilities. What fits where and connects to what?

The worksession is a mix of collaborative exercises, informal presentations and prototyping sessions.


Tuesday 8 November

20:00 - 22:00 Expanded Publications #10: Oral Site

Launch of Oral Site, a project by Sarma, developed by Alexandre Leray and Stéphanie Vilayphiou. Oral Site is a branch of the Active Archives video wiki made for on-line spoken words.

Address: Vitrine n°17, Recyclart, Ursulinenstraat 17 rue des Ursulines

Wednesday 9 November

10:00 - 17:00 All that SPARQLs is not gold

The focus of the first day is on creatively writing content to fit existing schemas such as Friend-of-a-Friend and Biography. We will amongst others make use of SPARQL (pronounced "sparkle"), a so called 'RDF query language' which stands for Simple Protocol and Research Description Framework Query Language. The instrumentality of tagging is considered as we write queries to extract data, revealing the limitations and potentials of tags and schemas.

As a starting point, we propose the contested data-space of the on-line biography. From curriculum vitae to artist-biography and social network, the semantic web proposes many solutions for the management of biographical information. But how to explore the ambiguity of this type of data rather than 'resolve', 'refine', or 'wrangle out' it's messiness? In order to explore the potential of tagging, we will include fictional frameworks, narrative markup and playful ontologies.

  • Exercises in writing SPARQL queries as a means of (collective) creative writing
  • Using existing Linked Data sources (dbpedia, Freebase, ...)
  • Playful exercises with the way tagging and placement can create narrative.
  • The Instrumentality of Tags (hooks on which to enable indexing, retrieval, recombination)
  • ...

Thursday 10 November

10:00 - 17:00 Writing in Schemas

Starting from existing data, we will try out Exercises in Writing in Schemas (Comparing BIOGRAPHY and FOAF as a writing space). The focus is on tagging your own content (working through informal but precise vocabularies) and bridging dispersed collections (two or more related institutes bridge but keep/confirm their own identity: negotiation, re-writing).

19:00 - 21:00 Kitchentable sessions

Friday 11 November

10:00 - 18:00 Getting Things Done with RDF

Skype Session with Copy Library http://glasgowopenschool.com/

(Armistice Day)

The second part of Tagging Matters are parallel worksessions around specific topics to be determined by the participants. We want to investigate how open data infrastructures can work for cultural practice and we will work around concrete cases and datasets.


  • Revising existing schema's, proposing alternatives (What is an activist vocabulary?)
  • Developing Wiki markup for creative SPARQL queries
  • Making standards/infrastructures work (in practice!) for cultural practice (Beyond yet-another "Best Practices" to actual workable scenarios?, e.g. how to solve "The Gallery" problem)
  • Connecting two similar datasets that have a different aim and character: Vti and Sarma docs.
  • Realising a "Federated Search" of two or more collections
  • ...

Saturday 12 November

10:00 - 16:00 Getting Things Done with RDF - continued

17:00 Closing discussion

Conclusions, notes and response by Maria Ptkq, followed by discussion.

Confirmed Participants

See Participants Tagging Matters

Practical Info

Address: Constant Variable, Rue Gaillaitstraat 80, Brussels.

The worksessions takes place in 3 parts; participants are welcome to any, or all of these events:

  1. "Writing With Tags" (Wednesday-Thursday)
  2. Kitchentable presentations (Thursday 19:00-21:00)
  3. "Getting Things Done with RDF" (Friday-Saturday)

Participation in this worksession is free; vegetarian lunch provided. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to femke at constantvzw.org. There are only 4 more places available.

Reading List


News Clippings & Other Links

Sources of Linked Data


Notes from the worksessions:

<DynamicPageList> category = Tagging Matters count = 25 order = ascending </DynamicPageList>

Raw notes: Tagging Matters Etherpad

Pictures: http://gallery3.constantvzw.org/index.php/TaggingMatters

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