FOAF   SWAD-Europe

1st Workshop on Friend of a Friend, Social Networking and the Semantic Web

1-2 September 2004, Galway, Ireland, sponsored by SWAD-Europe and DERI

See also collaborative notes, photos, and such:

[Topics] [Submission Details and Important Dates] [Chairs] [Programme Committee] [Location] [Sponsoring] [Programme] [Papers] [Registration] [Report]

Call for papers in [ASCII] [PDF version]


The FOAF (Friend of a Friend) project explores a unique combination of themes from social networking, search engines, knowledge representation and software development. FOAF was designed as a practical experiment that would highlight the technical, social and business challenges raised by the next generation of "Semantic" Web technology. Over the past few years, the FOAF developer community has been working on standards-based techniques for publishing and harvesting machine-readable descriptions of people, the links between them, and the things they create and do. The working assumption of the project is that such techniques will underpin the deployment of the next generation of Web technology, W3C's "Semantic Web". The FOAF project was created in the expectation that these machine-readable descriptions will grow, as the Semantic Web platform matures, to cover companies, organisations, documents, groups, products, file sharing and many other aspects of life, both online and off. The time has come to evaluate these assumptions in the context of the opportunities and challenges presented by the rise of FOAF and the Semantic Web.

Social networking is a recent topic gaining much interest and publicity. Social networking sites are community sites where users can maintain an online network of friends or associates for social or business purposes: whether looking for a job, reconnecting with old friends, moving to a new area, or dating. Most of these sites are based on a centralised architecture: all users' descriptions are stored in one big database. There is, however, growing user and business interest in portability between such sites, and for sophisticated "single sign-on" mechanisms that reduce the need for data re-entry, while allowing users to manifest different aspects of themselves in different contexts. FOAF-based import/export allows such sites to address user demand for control of "their" data; however, many deployment, privacy, authentication and engineering issues have not yet been fully explored. To what extent do mechanisms such as FOAF change the environment they attempt to describe? How can the visibility of personal data be restricted to certain audiences? How can businesses make money when their customers can migrate to new services with increased ease?

This workshop on FOAF, social networking and the Semantic Web provides a first chance to discuss the unusual combination of perspectives - academic and scientific, engineering, social, legal and business - drawn together by these trends. The workshop aims to bring together for the first time researchers interested in the effects, analysis and application of social networks on the (Semantic) Web as well as practitioners building applications and infrastructure. The workshop will also try to give a snapshot of current developments, as well as setting a roadmap for the future of both FOAF and social networking - especially in the context of the Semantic Web.

Topics of interest for full papers include, but are not limited to the following:

Submission and Important Dates

The workshop will be organized in part around talks presenting selected research results in the relevant fields. Another important part of the workshop will be open discussions, where participants define the agenda themselves, focusing on the interests of the participants with respect to social networking, FOAF, and the Semantic Web. Depending on the nature of the submissions, some time may be allocated to discussion of the future development and coverage of the FOAF specification.

We invite the submission of position statements and demonstration descriptions as well as full papers. Position papers and demonstration submissions should not exceed 1000 words, full papers should not contain more than 6000 words. Documents should be be submitted as tarred/zipped archives containing exactly one index.html file and all accompanying files to (or alternate address). A paper is not required in order to attend the workshop, although we would prefer it if attendees provided at least a position paper so that attendees have a sense of the various points of view represented by other participants.

Papers to be published and/or presented will be selected through a peer review process.


Programme Committee


Galway was founded in the 13th century by the Anglo-Norman de Burgos as a medieval settlement on the eastern bank of the River Corrib. It became a walled and fortified city state ruled by fourteen powerful merchant families, later known as the "Tribes of Galway". Today the city is a vibrant, bustling centre of the arts and commerce, though it still retains a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. Galway is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The city, with its medieval streets, waterways, extensive range of shopping facilities, wealth of music sessions and other cultural events, is a place to be treasured. The seaside town of Salthill, a Galway suburb, is a renowned summer resort. Its fine beaches open directly onto spectacular Galway Bay. Galway's numerous annual festivals and celebrations - among them the 'Cúirt' International Festival of Literature, the Galway Arts Festival, the Galway Races and the Oyster Festival - are famous throughout Ireland and beyond. Galwegians can justly claim a quality of life that is surpassed nowhere in the world.

Being a university city, Galway is a lively energetic place throughout the year. The National University of Ireland, Galway, situated close to the heart of Galway, enjoys an intimate relationship with the city and during the academic year, 15% of the population of the city are students. A compact, thriving city, Galway caters to youth like few other places can. The University's graduates have played a pivotal role in all areas of the development of Galway, including the arts, industry and commerce.

The Digital Enterprise Research Institute has a centre located at NUI Galway.

See the local organisers page for further details on accomodation and travel.

Sponsoring Possibilities

Are you a company or organisation willing to sponsor this event? Sponsoring companies will be given the opportunity to present their software in The demo session and display their logo prominently on the workshop homepage. Please contact John Breslin ( for further information.