I just finished my final presentation as the finishing-line for my studies in computer science. I wrote about the inclusion of a RDFa-Editor in a blogsystem, where a user can include semantic annotations in their posts. The goal was to create a tool for editors that would enable them to enrich the posts they make with individual semantic markup. Its mainly focused on usability and is based on the WYMeditor and two servlets. It should be easily portable and perhaps this can be an inspiration for CMS-vendors, so normal people without domain-knowledge (in RDF and Ontologies) will be able to post semantic markup for their contents.
The presentation is made with the flash-tool of prezzi.com and is completely in GERMAN. You can find it shared here. Let it first load the media before you go on watching. If you experience lags, you can download the more smoothly runningoffline-exe-file.
If someone needs a translation, I might invest the hour of work doing so (just post a comment). This is the presentation … click on the forward button to move forwards, in the downloaded version you’ll find the forwards/backwards-butons in the lower right corner and can also use standard powerpoint-presentors:
Google and Yahoo just announced that they’re going to support RDFa (and Microformats). Be sure that you understand what that means: This is the dawn of the Semantic Web(or you may also call it Web 3.0) and the beginning of the end of old ways of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In this post you’ll find some more info explaining what RDFa is, why I state that the Semantic Web will now emerge and why it soon will not be important to put the buzzwords into Headline-Tags (<h1>Buzzwords here!</h1>) but to link the word your content is about to the rdf-Source of what that word really means.
Talking about Google. Google is THE defining webtechnology company. The google page rank is the most important factor that a SEO cares about, and he would be doing anything to get a high page rank, as this would rank his site higher in the google search. And google search is the main entry point of the average surfer to get to content he cares about. Being highly ranked in google’s search is like being well-known and this holds a lot of marketing power. Google (and the other search engines) are doing their best for about 20 years to understand a given HTML-site and its contents, to know what to show their users when they search for a keyword. But they can never know what you mean when you talk in your blogpost about Big Ben. Do you mean the Volcanic Massif on Heard Island labeled Big Ben? Do you mean the world champion jumping horse that held this name? In this article, I marked up these three words with their meaning … you can’t see it, but google can (well in fact that might be a stupid idea, because Google will think that this post might be about these items … but anyways, if you find it in the sourcecode, you’ll see what I mean, just in case this wordpress blog won’t have shreddered what I just typed in).
Most people that want to “invent” the semantic web like Qimaya think they can derive semantic meaning from webpages by emulating a human brain which just understands the words. They sell this idea to investors who don’t like technical terms like RDF or Ontologies, because those investors hope that the Web will become “semantic” by magic instead of hard-to-understand science. If that would be possible … don’t you think Google would have already implemented it? Nevermind … we all need some fantasy.
RDFa is a way of embedding RDF into HTML. RDF is the Resource Description Framework, and with that its possible to define semantic meaning. In RDF, you have a Subject, a Predicate and an Object as in real-world speech. You could say “This article (subject with the unique URI http://www.ithoughts.de/google-supports-rdfa-seos-work-changes-forever) is about (standard-RDF-predicate) the semantic web “and Google would rank your article way higher when someone wants to know something about the Semantic Web and uses this keyword in Google Search. You could also model these triple-sentences to make a connection between defined resources. “I’m interested in the semantic web” could be a triple you can put directly into HTML. Google could derive a logical connection here.
Google will first use some use-cases, like that of the ratings. Say you define your blogpost as a rating about a product like some special laptop, and you define it unambigously by using a unique id (in fact a unique URI, perhaps that will be the product page at the laptops vendor), Google has a lot of info that it can directly parse from your website: Its about a certain laptop, you have rated it, and maybe you also give information about yourself. This is all machine-extractable structured data, that can be used by webspiders like Google Search. With these definitions about products, ratings, companies and people, a lot of the central data that a lot of people search about in Google can be automatically extracted from average users like you and me – if we know how to embed that data. This might become a central interest of all SEOs out there – understanding RDF and implementing RDFa into webpages might be the next thing in terms of “Semantic Page Rank“.
Its some kinda funny, that I’m working on an RDFa-Editor for a semantic blog in my thesis. Seems like I have to include Googles usecases in it, or it might be “outdated”. If you have any questions, just add a comment. By the way: Welcome to the Semantic Web!
Listening to technology-podcasts on the german Handelsblatt.com-website, I heard about Zemanta. It is a service that uses a firefox-plugin to read out your blogged text and parsing it for “words they know”. They present you links, tags and images to embed in your blog post, showing you links to wikipedia-articles and pictures fitting the content. Just after finishing this sentence, the sidebar that gets embedded in my webbackend of wordpress refreshes. Whoa! I got 5 links for the first sentence and I just included them all. I also included a pic you see floating right.
This is what many people think the semantic web or Web 3.0 to be. And in a way, it is. The use of Web 3.0 (the term in my understanding encapsulates user-generated-content as in Web 2.0 and the semantic web) in blogging seems logical to me as blogging the one of the most public displays of Web 2.0. This firefox-plugin makes it much easier to generate interesting articles and IF it doesn’t break my blog frontend, I’ll definitely use it in every post from here on. But back to the functions:
You can press an update-button and your content gets scanned again. New pictures appear and new links can be included. Just realized that most links are Wikipedia ones, but some (like the firefox-plugin-link or the Zemanta-link at the top) are also directed at other “well-known” resources. You can search for a term you put into a searchbar and get links, content and new pics. I tried “semantic web” for example. You can drag-and-drop pictures into the content-pane, and it gets easily included.
We’re standing on the edge of Web 3.0. I don’t think that this here is all that Web 3.0 is about, but I think its a great application that can be called “Web 3.0″-ly. If you would like to use this ff-plugin too, just go to their website and install it. You’ll have to agree to their TOS, that basically says “don’t change anything our plugin includes” and “we need access to the text you write” and “you are in charge for your content and all content you get from us as we show you the license”. So now I hope this post doesn’t get destroyed by some bad constructed CSS on my side. Fire and forget – or do you have any comments, iThoughts or fears about this plugin? You may also comment in german.
Just for those who don’t know: FOAF means Friend-of-aFriend and is a technical way to express your friendship and personal info on the semantic web. As more and more services spider the web for such info, I just put it up … perhaps you’ll be able to register to websites with just pointing to your FOAF-File.
The article and several others that I found are saying all the same – they were busy explaining what the meaning of the word semantic is and how the human brain organizes information – and some other buzzwords also appear. They say they use neuronal nets to simulate the human brains way to connect words to semantics and that they are ready to sell it to us. They tell us that they found a way to make this n-net work with linear complexity (lowering the processing speed to “only” 20% [someone might see that this is not logical] ) and that every site in the semantic web just gets connected to every other when we use their technology – how this should look is shown in a small video where they take some text about a mac evangelist and show us how their remarkable someware does some pretty AJAX-effects. They tell us that it will find applications that fit the context of what we read and relevant text too – from anywhere on the net! They tell that it’s good for SEO (which I doubt – when every information is connected semantically, SEO is plain dead because only the content would be important) and they tell us its an innovative revolution.
Something that is not told is how we should buy this technology, sometimes its said that everyone will be able to use the new technology in their portal, but most of the time I got the feeling that you’ll need to but a licenced software to use it. They also don’t tell us what a server we’ll need, and how much bandwidth and hardware-capacity … this might be relevant if we’re simulating a human brain or if we’re trying to know where every written word on the internet is located, and in which context.
After all, I would be very happy to see that miraculous beta-version and test it. If it does, what you say, I’ll gratefully update this post and help you test that revolution. But till that happens, I’ll take Qimaya for the guys that sell the thing everyone’s talking about to the people who don’t understand its just selling freezers to eskimos.