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Semantic Blogging : Spreading the Semantic Web Meme

Cayzer, Steve


Keyword(s): semantic web; RDF; knowledge management; blogging

Abstract: This paper is about semantic blogging, an application of the semantic web to blogging. The semantic web promises to make the web more useful by endowing metadata with machine processable semantics. Blogging is a lightweight web publishing paradigm which provides a very low barrier to entry, useful syndication and aggregation behaviour, a simple to understand structure and decentralized construction of a rich information network. Semantic blogging builds upon the success and clear network value of blogging by adding additional semantic structure to items shared over the blog channels. In this way we add significant value allowing view, navigation and query along semantic rather than simply chronological or serendipitous connections. Our vision is to use semantic web tools and ideas to help move blogging beyond communal diary browsing to rich information sharing scenarios. We have built a simple prototype as an illustration of this vision. Our semantic blogging prototype demonstrates schema driven views, new navigation modalities and richer query. It shows how a semantic blog can be used for informal knowledge management, and is set in the bibliography management domain. Our design was, broadly, to augment a blog with a metadata pipeline, with import, export and storage/access mechanisms. Three semantic behaviours (view, navigation and query) were built over this base. This work was performed as part of the SWAD-E (Semantic Web Advanced Development Europe) project, which provides targeted research, demonstrations and outreach to help semantic web technologies move into the mainstream of networked computing. We believe that we have contributed a number of useful things to this project. Firstly, a prototype that can be used to illustrate and assess a semantic web approach. Semantic web values are covered partly by the existing demonstrator, partly by stories one can tell around it, and partly by extensions that we (and others) are planning to build. Secondly, it appears that the demonstrator has more than just illustrative power. We (and others) see in semantic blogging the basis of a genuinely useful tool for applications whose scope extends far beyond bibliography management. Thirdly, a set of lessons for the deployment of useful RDF (Resource Description Framework) tools. These include the tension between RDF the model and RDF the syntax, the use of RDF for configuration and personalisation, and the importance of rich and interesting metadata. Finally, semantic blogging appears to be a promising base for outreach and publicity; we have had positive interest from individuals, start-ups, corporations and the press. We conclude this paper by looking forward to ways in which the semantic blogging theme might mature.

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