Thoughts on Semantic Blogging

Jun 23, 2011

One can think of a blog post a one person's commentary on a particular topic

Being a semantic web enthusiast, I was wondering about the status of Semantic Web Blogging for a while now. I finally had the time to do some digging and realized that activities in this area seems to have reduced over the years. It was surprising really to find out that very few people are working on this area currently as blogs can be thought of constant source of information. If you are still not sure as to what advantages semantic blogging has over the current one, read on.

One can think of a blog post a one person’s commentary on a particular topic. This topic could very well be a webpage, another person, some meeting or a event etc. We can therefore think of blog post as annotates(metadata) on other resources. So in a way blog posts closely resemble one principle of semantic, which is to add additional metadata on resources. Unfortunately the blog metadata is not semantically represented and thus not machine processable. Although blog posts can be exported as RSS, it is merely a machine readable formant and not machine processable.

Process of envisioning semantic blogging system started at the early stages of semantic web. Steve Cayzer’s semantic blogging model was one one of them. It was developed as part of SWAD-Europe project. There were a few more of them built around that time such as MIT’s Haystack platform and semiBlog from DERI. There are other protocols/ontologies available which can be used to annotate not just blog but any web content, Among them are Annotea,
SIOC ontology etc. All these systems offer you a way to annotate content and that is where the story ends. These systems never took the next leap.

Another topic that has not been addressed in the context of semantic blogging is the tagging phenomenon. The way tags are used in social context is extremely interesting, on the fly creating vocabulary, albeit unstructured. The real question is can we represent tags in a more formal(structured) way in semantic blogging ?

Once we start reusing these annotated contents from semantic blogs, we can do pretty interesting stuff with it. I have chosen this as the dissertation topic for my masters degree. My ideas are still at a nascent state. So, chances are that you will see lots of posts on this topic in the next few months.