Downscale 2016

Fourth International Workshop on Downscaling the (Semantic) Web

Co-located with the 4th International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S) Aug 29 – Sep 1, 2016 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Workshop Description

Data sharing usually focuses on centralized and very powerful solutions centred around Web hosted servers and (mobile) clients accessing it. As a direct consequence, the usage of World Wide Web (WWW) and Semantic Web technologies depends on the availability of a Web infrastructure compassing data-centres, high speed reliable Internet connection and modern client devices. The digital divide that is currently widely recognized separates the world into those who have access to Web-based platforms and those who don’t. Whilst Linked Data has been designed primarily for using the Web as a platform we should keep everyone in mind when we design platforms and aim at helping to reduce this digital divide. This workshop aimsat achieving this goal through working on three aspects (Infrastructure, Interfaces and Relevancy) around (Linked) Open Data.

Downscale2016 follows success of previous Downscale workshops DownScale2012 and DownScale2013 and Downscale2014. In this installment of the workshop, we will mostly focus on appropriate infrastructures. Instead of using large-scale centralised approaches to data management we look at breaking data-centric architectures into smaller components that consume less electricity, be cheaper to own, and more flexible than a “big server” while still mimicking, as a swarm, the features one such big server would provide. As such, the workshop matches ICT for Development (ICT4D) goals with ICT for Solutions (ICT4S) and we expect that the dialogue between ICT4S, Semantic Web and ICT4D researchers and practitioners will further each of the research fields.

Goals of the workshop

We invite participants to reflect on down scaling our technologies to the hardware and networks typically available in developing countries and other challenging contexts such as disaster aftermath. Participants will also get insights on the software platform and tools of use in that context. This includes Kasadaka (, a rapid prototyping platform aimed to meet the information needs of subsistence farmers in rural development areas. The box is built using cheap low-powered hardware and uses open source Linux based software, to make it as sustainable and affordable as possible. We actively welcome participants to present their own green-ICT / low-powered hardware solutions.

With this workshop, we target a public that is either:

  • Interested in the synergies between ICT4Development and ICT4Sustainability including shared use cases, specific challenges and solution directions
  • Working on or interested in data sharing and data integration in low-resource contexts…
    • …in the context of ICT for Development in rural contexts;
    • …when building software for disaster management situation;
    • …for low-powered smart sensor networks;
  • Interested in sustainable, decentralised or distributed systems for data sharing, data integration and federated queries to structured data repositories;
  • Interested in social and economic sustainability for distributed, low-resource data sharing
  • Working on sustainable educational software for young learners using Semantic technologies;
  • Working on innovative knowledge sharing interfaces for low-literate or young users;
  • Curious about making their software accessible to a wider community.

Workshop format

The workshop will be focused on interactive discussion and reflection around the challenges that we face, or will be facing, when aiming at adapting our technologies to lower computing and networking resources. 

  1. Presentation of peer reviewed (re-)submissions. The call for papers (to appear soon) asks for short papers around the topics introduced above. We also call for down-scaled versions of work that has been previously accepted for publication in Semantic Web, Sustainable ICT or ICT4D related events. Here, we focus our reviewing process on seeing how this work can be ported to being used in developing countries. The evaluation or the proposed revisions will include questions such as “Is the tool usable on limited resources?” and “What is the level of literacy required?”. The call will be focused on short papers of 4 to 6 pages.
  2. Hack session. The afternoon will be spent around discussions and hacking sessions of Linked Data enabled applications for small hardware. The Kasadaka platform ( will be provided, but workshop participants can bring their own challenges and hardware. This session will also feature some of the material used for the tutorial on Linked Data for Development held at ISWC2012.

We will collect and summarize the results in a whitepaper to be included in the workshop proceedings, which will describe the synergies between the two fields.


  • 9.00-9.30 Welcome and introduction (Victor and Anna) (20) (slides)
  • 9.30-9.50 Paper presentation 1 (20):  The Kasadaka Weather Forecast Service (slides)
  • 9.50-10.10 Paper presentation 2 (20) : The Mali Milk Service – a voice based platform for enabling farmer networking and connections with buyers. (slides)
  • 10.10-10.30 Questions and Discussion (20): Suggested topic: Downscaling data sharing
  • Break
  • 11.00-11.20 Paper presentation 3 (20): A Structured Model-Based Approach To Preview Sustainability in ICT4D (slides)
    11.20-11.40 Paper presentation 4 (20): Low profile data sharing with the Entity Registry System (ERS) (slides)
    12.00-12.30 Questions and Discussion 2 (20): Suggested topic: ICT4S and ICT4D
  • Lunch Break
  • 13.30-15.00 Hack 1 and demo session:
    • Handson with Kasadaka 
    • Semantic Web in an SMS
  • Break
  • 15.30-17.00 Hack 2 and Closing discussion

Organizing Committee

Important dates

  • Submission deadline: June 20, 2016
  • Notification: July 1, 2016
  • Submissions and Late breaking research: August 1, 2016
  • Notification late breaking research: August 7, 2016
  • Workshop: September 1, 2016


We ask for short submissions of two types: either papers presenting novel ideas and innovative solutions for downscaling or down­scaled versions of work that has been previously accepted for publication in Semantic Web, Sustainable ICT or ICT4D related events. Papers are expected not to exceed 6 pages and should be formatted according to the Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) formatting guide. Submissions are managed via EasyChair:

Papers will be peer­ reviewed with special focus on how this work can be ported to being used in developing countries. The deadline for this call is June 20.eWe invite both short papers (6 pages) or abstracts (2 pages) describing current or late­breaking research. These papers will undergo a light ­review procedure.

We aim at publishing the accepted papers in the form of CEUR­WS proceedings. Accepted subwill be bundled in an online proceedings.

Program committee

Below, you find the confirmed members of Program Committee. Be aware that more names will appear on this list in the coming weeks. 

  • Victor de Boer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Anna Bon, CIS Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Stéphane Boyera, SB consulting (SBC4D)
  • Sarven Capadisli, University of Bonn
  • WaiShiang Cheah, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Mathieu D’Aquin, Knowledge Media Institute, the Open University
  • Jaap Gordijn, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Christophe Guéret,  BBC, Cardiff, UK
  • Nana Baah Gyan, Central University, Accra, Ghana
  • Stefan Schlobach, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Andreas Thor, University of Maryland
  • Maria Esther Vidal, Universidad Simon Bolivar
  • Martin Murillo, Cap Breton University
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