I've been at the 2014 Extended (formerly European) Semantic Web Conference ( ESWC) in Anissaras, Greece for four days now. My reason for attending was to present my paper Seeding structured data by default in open source library systems (presentation) (paper).
It has been fantastic. As a librarian attending a conference dominated by computer science academics, I was met with genuine interest in my work on expressing schema.org metadata via RDFa in library catalogue web pages. Despite my relative inexperience in this milieu of PhD candidates and faculty, I was able to participate productively in the opening workshops and tutorials, and enjoyed the keynotes and panel sessions (I'll happily admit, though, that I was out of my depth in many of the main track sessions). And I was welcomed into (and enjoyed) social events and situations, something I tend to worry about when joining a new community.
After many discussions, and particularly after attending the cleverly named SALAD2014 (Services and Applications over Linked APIs and Data) workshop and the keynote on day one by Stefan Staab, my hope for many of the promises of the Semantic Web proper has been rekindled. The awareness amongst attendees of the need for pragmatism--support for developers and actual results--beyond just the interesting academic research.
These are good people, and this is a good community. Conference: recommended!
Oh, and there's this...