Frequently asked Questions

On this page we attempt to give answers to common questions. Please see the about page for more information on the site and its purpose, if your question is not addressed in the topics below.

How do I correct data?

The vast majority of data within this portal is gathered from other websites and databases. We process the data before making it available, but generally we don’t maintain or curate the information ourselves. In most cases you need to correct the data “at source” if you find that information is incorrect.

The following flowchart highlights the most common avenues to consider when trying to correct data.

Correcting data in the portal

Why are there no details about me or my organisation?

Sorry, but within the limited resources of this project we have not been able to acquire details about everyone working in the Photonics field. New additions to the portal are very welcome, and we would be glad to receive additional data sources that we can include. (read on!)

How can I add new data to the portal?

We aim to reuse existing resources that are naturally maintained by others, to keep things up to date. By pulling in external resources we have purposefully avoided trying to create yet another database which needs maintaining — yet another place you have to go to update your details. Our aim is that contributors only have to maintain one resource, and where that information doesn’t already exist in a structured form to generate maximum benefit in creating it.

Generally we recommend that for basic information about individuals or organisations you update or create resources in Freebase. Please see below for more information… there are many benefits in doing so!

If your organisation has many entries that are already available online that are suitable for submission, such as a staff or equipment index, we may be able to arrange for an automatic acquisition from your site. Please get in touch so we can discuss further –

The following flowchart summarises the main options for data entry.

Adding data to the Portal

We currently include data from the following fields in Freebase pages

  • common.topic.description
  • common.topic.image
  • common.topic.official_website

What is Freebase?

Freebase is a community edited wiki-style database, covering a very wide range topics from around the world. First launched in 2007, it was acquired by Google in 2010 and now forms a significant part of the Google Knowledge Graph – helping to drive the “information boxes” you see on the right hand side when searching for people, places, organisations, etc.

In many ways, Freebase is similar to Wikipedia, but has a less restrictive editorial policy. Anyone can edit and create pages, and in a more structured format than Wikipedia. It provides us with a good source of information, and an accessible way of contributing data.

Adding data to Freebase about yourself or your organisation will not only allow us to bring in that information in a structured form, but it may well also enhance your visibility and representation in search engines.

How can I edit Freebase?

Anyone can create an account and help curate data within Freebase. You may find our guide to editing Freebase useful.

How often is the data updated?

While in beta we automatically update at least once a week, though often more frequently than this. Once the beta period is over, we anticipate nightly acquisition from the majority of data sources. External Linked Data resources (such as Freebase) are retrieved on demand, and cached for 24hrs.

What technology is being used?

The Portal infrastructure is based on the latest Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies. These are aiming to keep the content up to date by gathering live data from the web and re-publishing it, rather than maintaining its own version of the data that needs to be edited separately. This linked view of the photonics-oriented corner of the web can be an exciting presentation, but of course will mean that the data shown will sometimes reflect inaccuracies that have been published and not noticed or corrected by the sources.