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The value of the semantic web. RDF$? November 6, 2007

Posted by shahan in information retrieval, internet artchitecture, online social networks, openid, semantic web, standards, Uncategorized.
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The question that this entry seeks to answer is, “Using the semantic web, what resources are available that have meaningful marketable value?”.

While the value of the semantic web has been touted, marketable value is not as widely discussed. However; in order to encourage Google to develop an OpenRDF API, they need to see what it can do for them. In my previous post about Search Standards, I mentioned measurement of a person’s search preferences, such as type of content to search and metric ranges, is key to improving results. Combining Greg Wilson’s post about Measurement with the value-of-data issues mentioned in Bob Warfield’s User-Contributed Data Auditing we now want to understand how to retrieve semantically marked-up content which has the ability to generate revenue.

User-generated semantic metrics are easily achieved with the semantic web. Further, semantic metrics can be tied together using various means, one of which is mentioned in Dan Connolly’s blog entry Units of measure and property chaining. It should be noted that, due to the extensibility of semantic data, the value or metrics are independent of any specifics, thus allowing it to be used for trust metrics as well.

There is a general use case which describes what I mean:

  1. Content is made available. The quality is not called into question, yet.
  2. The content is semantically marked up so that it has properties that mean something.
  3. Other users markup the content even further but with personally-relevant properties that can be created by themselves or using an existing schema (e.g. available from their employer) which can be associated through their online identity OpenID and can be extended with their social network through Google’s OpenSocial API.

The data has now been extended from being searchable for relevant content using existing methods to becoming searchable using user-generated value metrics. These can then be leveraged, similar to Google Coop, and with further benefit if search standards were available.

If a group was selected based on their ability to identify and rank relevant content based on not by the content contained, but by the value associated with the properties of that content, the idea of relevant content no longer becomes whether the content itself is relevant to the person evaluating it, but whether the properties would be relevant to someone searching for those properties. This potentially has the ability to remove bias from relevance evaluation. No longer is content being evaluated for what it is but what it is perceived as, and the metrics from paid users as well as the users who view the content for their own or standard metrics is easily expandable and searchable by others, an architecture permitting growth beyond limited views.

Want to comment on Tim Berners-Lee’s blog? Here’s how November 2, 2007

Posted by shahan in openid, semantic web.

It’s very easy. The Decentralized Information Group (DIG) is where you can find a bit of information on what’s being rolled out regarding the combined use of rdf and openid and is also host to several blogs. In order to comment, wise techniques have been implemented to block spammers through the use of openid, rdf, and a basic trust metric. Before someone can login to post, the person must be placed on a whitelist. You cannot create an account on the site; openid is used to login. To compute the basic trust metric of being known within 2 degrees of separation (a person at DIG knows someone who knows someone), you require a FOAF file. The following is a list of steps I took to get whitelisted:

1. WordPress provides an openid url for me, it’s the address of my blog; http://vannevarvision.wordpress.com

2. I generated a FOAF file through the FOAF-a-matic.

3. I copied and pasted the generated rdf from step-2 into a text file called foaf.rdf, and added the line

<foaf:openid rdf:resource="http://vannevarvision.wordpress.com/"/>

before the line


NOTE: this requirement may be removed in the future to use the homepage property instead of the openid property

4. I saved the file, uploaded it to my homepage, and to ensure that Apache Web Server would provide the correct content-type for the rdf file, I added the following line to my .htaccess file:

AddType application/rdf+xml rdf

5. I joined the Semantic Web Interest Group’s IRC channel, where I asked whether anyone would be kind enough to add me to their ‘knows’ list in their own FOAF properties.

6. Sean B. Palmer(sbp) and Dan Connolly (DanC) were kind enough to look at my blog to see that I don’t have spammer intentions so Sean added me to his FOAF, validated it, then reran the script on the blog server to add me to the whitelist.

7. I’m now able to login to the DIG site using my openid url

It was a very easy and quick process though I had the advantage of a blog dating from last year with a few posts on XML and microformats, not entirely out of scope from the semantic web community. Thanks to sbp and DanC for their help.

Recommended References:

FOAF and OpenID: two great tastes that taste great together by Dan Connolly

Whitelisting blog post by Sean B. Palmer


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