My Inktober 2019

I decided to go through the 2019 edition of #inktober using just straight lines for my sketches. Oh, you may ask “what is Inktober?” See on the official website what is all about and the prompt list. If you are very curious, you may also want to know why I decided to go with straight lines. This follows a workshop at #ISC19FR with Eva-Lotta Lamm on Freedom on paper, see my related tweet.

All my 2019 sketches, mainly done in the train early morning while commuting to work.

Share on:

A “beautiful” encounter with David McCandless

I had the privilege to meet David McCandless, data journalist and founder of Information is Beautiful, at the European Commission 2019 #EUknowledge week.

David gave the opening keynote speech “Making complex knowledge meaningful – the power of data visualisation”. This is my live sketchnotes of his presentation.

Sketchnotes David McCandless

One of my colleagues summarised his speech as follow:

“We are engulfed in a sea of data. Using graphical images that everybody understands, helps to tell the story behind numbers. […] The story behind data doesn’t lie behind the numbers but in the message that the visualisation brings. […] Visualisation has the power of analysis, it turns data into a landscape that is ready for you to explore […] Data visualisation is like taking a photo, it brings into contrast what is in or out of focus, what is in the background, what is on the forefront. As a data journalist David feels close to photography journalism. You can zoom in or you can go wide to tell your story […] Visualisation unlocks what needs to be known, it gives clarity to big data.  […] To be better understood you convert to a visual language. When you can encode the message in visualisation you bring clarity and there is beauty in clarity. “

I am so happy and honoured that David signed my sketchbook with “Beautiful”. It means a lot to me from the man who wrote “Information is beautiful” and “Knowledge is beautiful“.

Share on:

The power of canvasses for better conversations

On 16/09/2019, more than 300 colleagues from DG REGIO and DG EMPL were in an away-day to reflect on “how to better navigate to the future” for beautiful operational programmes. I was asked to prepare the templates, or canvasses, to harvest the ideas and conclusions from the discussions. There is nothing better than canvasses to put participants in another mental state conducive to better conversations and exchanges.

The power of canvasses The power of canvasses The power of canvasses The power of canvasses

I was not asked for that, but I can not help but capturing the essence of the day with visuals. Inspired by the energy in the room, a tent to be exact, I mixed sketchnotes and scrapbooking.

Graphic recording of the REGIO-EMPL geographical officers away day
Share on:

Linked Data, Semantic web, sketchnotes and online collaboration

Recently I had the privilege of attending a course on Linked Data and Semantic technologies. It was a 2-day intensive course given by a brilliant Ivo Velitchkov to people working in the European institutions.

I cannot yet say that technologies like RDF, SPARQL, OWL or SHACL have now no secrets for me, far from it. At least I better understand their potential and possible applications. Especially now that I had the opportunity to deepen these technologies with the help of Kingsley and Margaret on social media. This is what I will share with you here below.

Of course, everything started with sketchnotes. Because I couldn’t help but take visual notes during the two days of the course.

Linked data course skecthnotes

Someone asked me if I drew these notes after the class, after having put my thoughts and ideas in order. Well not at all! First because I don’t have time after. Rather because taking visual notes live is my best way to understand what is said during the course, to assimilate and to remember later.

I usually publish my work, whether drawings or photos, on the Flickr platform. So I published this series of visual notes in a dedicated Flickr album that I tweeted.

Linked data course (sketchnotes 4/5)

On Twitter, I was quickly asked by Kingsley Uyi Idehen for the URL/URI per image. Kingsley was unknown to me until then.

Gosh…. I was forced to put into practice the concepts learned during the course!

The Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is the string of characters that unambiguously identifies a particular resource.
The RDF Triple, or semantic triple, is the atomic data entity in the RDF data model that codifies a statement about semantic data in the form of subject–predicate–object expressions (e.g. “this image is sketchnotes”, or “this image depicts semantic web”).

Aussitôt dit, aussitôt fait! Enfin presque! (No sooner said than done! Well almost!)

Still on Twitter, Margaret Warren asked me to post my images on her imagesnippets.com platform.

ImageSnippets is a complete metadata editing interface that enables someone who knows little to nothing about RDF, OWL, ontologies, or even URIs to create descriptions for images using Linked Data (also known as structured data) which is written in RDF.

I took the challenge and added my images on the platform. I also had fun to enrich them with meta-data, RDF triples and annotations. This was a great exercise after the Ivo’ course where I put into practice what I had learned. Margaret was also unknown to me until then.

I’m proud to give you here the URI of my images on imagesnippets.com :


Resolution: 775×623

Resolution: 775×626

Resolution: 775×621

Resolution: 775×623

Resolution: 775×623

Like me, you can ask what is the added value of publishing photos, or pictures, on a RDF platform such as imagesnippets.com rather than on a platform like Flickr entirely dedicated to photos.

If your goal is to organize, retrieve and look at your photos, then Flickr does the trick. If your goal is to share your photos with friends and people with the same interests as you, eventually to comment and like, then again Flickr does the trick.

But if the final goal is that your images can be semantically connected to related content on the web – be it words, paragraphs, documents, other images, people or objects – then the “RDF” approach is required. For this to be possible, your images must become nodes of the graph of Linked Data. This way both humans and machines can find them and link them to other pieces of information on the web. What I did on imagesnippets.com.

Having content, like your images, semantically connected on the so-called Semantic Web will help to create and make more sense (to current chaotic web). Is it not a noble cause to change the messy web where the search results don’t provide real answers to the questions, to a place where answers make sense?

Linked Data and the Semantic Web have of course other benefits. You can find out more by watching the first 13 minutes of this webinar :

Check out Kingsley’s thread on Twitter to see all of that in action (from a human perspective, which is not equal to the machine one):

Thank you Ivo for your support, your help to review the text, and your suggestions.

Thank you Margaret and Kingsley for these great interactions for the benefit of my understanding of the semantic web! I hope this post will help others to better understand it too.

Share on: