A Question of Semantics

A Question of Semantics

A while ago I wrote a post questioning the issue of reblogging. Posts are often reblogged on meme tracking sites which use an algorithm to detect popular stories and ideas. Posts are also reblogged to blanket certain categories or markets. And then some are reblogged by people with made for Adsense sites or splogs.

My reason for covering the topic was to create a more complete picture of what I am trying to present with a post. I can't cover everything and if I write a post about feeds, it would be nice to have the past research I did on the subject not only readily available to me while I write, but also for the readers who want to dig deeper into the subject.

And what if after I wrote the post about feeds, brand new sites start popping up that extend the subject even further. If I bookmark these or tag them somehow, it would be nice for future readers of the post to have access to the new, updated links. That way the post itself becomes a growing thing, adapting to new changes.

Yes, I could go back in and update each post, but I write on a lot of topics. And the framework is here for a system that I am envisioning. Wordpress has a API. Posts have tags. Delicious has a API. Bookmarks have tags. Flickr has an API. Flickr has tags. I could keep going with this if I wanted.

Of course, as usual, I was working without the correct terminology which I do a lot. I just really want to get something done and don't really care how or what words are used to describe it. But I guess there is one: semantic.

And to continue not using terminology that seems overly complex to protect the average person from realizing how simple it really is, let's define the semantic web.

The semantic web defines how thing relate to one another. In the system above, a bookmark will relate to a post based on the tags in both items. It also defines the properties of those items. A post is a post. A bookmark is a bookmark. Other properties are the dates and times of said posts and bookmarks. A more complex definition starts looking like the sentences you diagrammed in English class. We don't need to go that far. To go into more detail, without that much detail, read Semantic Web: What is the killer app?

In other words, I can go to my blog to find my posts, to delicious to find my bookmarks, to Flickr to find my photos, to StumbleUpon to find my favorites... Or I can use the feeds of these accounts and a little bit of software to bring them to me all at once. If they are already categorized and tagged, why sort it all out again when you are writing a post?

The search is still on, though I have found a few sites closer to what I am looking for:

BlogRovr

I saw this as a possibility. It is a Firefox extension that suggests related blog posts while you are browsing. You are allowed to pick and choose the feeds you add to your own personal Rovr. I thought this would be great for linking out to other blogs as I write my posts, which added yet another dimension to the software I was looking for. But after I upload my OPML file and browsed around, I got very few suggestions at any blogs I visited.

Zemanta

Plain and simple, kicks ass. I thought I had found my answer. But there is no way to customize it so far. But it is damn worth looking into and this one I still have installed. It is a Firefox extension and it works with all of my Wordpress blogs. It adds extra menus in the page itself instead of hanging off the side of the browser like BlogRovr.

The light orange areas were all added by Zemanta. Worth a look. But like I said, it would be nice to access the feeds I subscribe to, posts from my blog, and bookmarks from my delicious account so I could choose and not have posts from the top 300 blogs chosen for me.

Ligit

Close but no cigar. Plus I have to take a look at the links this thing puts on your site. This is not a javascript widget. It's a PHP one and each followed link goes back through the ligit site.

Yahoo Pipes

This looks like it has some possibilities to build what I am looking for.

And again, whether or not my definitions are correct. I don't really give a crap. Definitions never did anything. Action does. I am a man of action. If semantic no longer fits, I will use "contextual feed matching" or "why won't this work 'cause it's God Damned simple". And I will still be looking for this answer or developers or will do it myself.

And finally some other links of interest that I didn't have time to investigate fully because I am not writing a thesis here:

And for those of you who want to take it even further. What if the semantic web could be the knowledge base for an AI processor? A mind the size of the internet. Always the science fiction fan.

P.S. Since I use LiveWriter and then upload to my blog, I couldn't add the Zementa links until I did. Here they are:

Which led me to Triplify. All I can say is that I would have never found these sites through Google (social graph?, get real).

And for now, until I find a way to organize everything around seed posts, everything gets fed into my Tumbler account, which I wish could import Delicious and Wordpress tags. Is this the end of this post? I doubt it.


Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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