Finally semantic web formats are becoming more mainstream, although many of us in the SEO world are considered slightly odd and confusing for adopting them. We are not alone, search engines have adopted both RDFa and Microformats so it’s not so crazy for web professionals to be paying attention to them. Yahoo has been on the semantic web trail for quite some years already and the computer science universe has been pondering over it for even longer than that. It is just the beginning of a fascinating and exciting journey for the web, and I’ve been actively part of the movement for a few years now.
The major engines have started supporting them as yu will have read in the news. Google started supporting rich snippets and also more recently for video. Yahoo has been working this sort of thing for some time in the framework of SearchMonkey. Microsoft acquired Powerset and is using some nice semantic web enhancements with Bing. Yelp is using it and so is Wikipedia and LinkedIn amongst others.
It’s time to stop calling the semantic web “a nice idea” because it is well an truly here. It was “a nice idea” about 5 years ago. The practical application for us as users goes something like this:
Query: “I would like to buy some running shoes”
- someone you know (XFN format on Facebook)
- works with someone (FOAF format on LinkedIn)
- who said you should get Asics (hReview on Yelp!)
- which you can get at Northside Runners store nearby (Geo on Maps)
- and there is a special event where you can try a pair out (hCalendar)
Some good people to keep track of in semantic web are:
- Daniel Lemire (Computer science professor at University of Montreal)
- The guys at Talis (Nodalities blog)
- Paul Miller (Cloud of data – also Talis)
- Nova Spivack (Twine)
- Tim Berners-Lee (can’t remember who he is)
Anyway, I wanted to share SMORE which allows you to mark up and edit HTML documents in OWL using Web Ontologies. OWL is built on RDF but has a richer vocabulary amongst other things. I think we need to develop more tools like these to help with the adoption of the new formats.
The SMORE team say the motivation is:
- To allow the user to markup web documents with limited knowledge of OWL terms and syntax.
- To provide a way to use Classes, Properties, and Individuals from existing ontologies, do limited ontology editing, or even create a new ontology from scratch using terms from web documents.
- To provide the a flexible environment to create simple web page simultaneously with markup.
I like that it makes sense for site owners in that they can easily add the mark-up and also edit the HTML. The software is from 2005 so it’s no spring chicken. More recent software include Rhodonite and Altova, and of course Protege. There are many others but I have the feeling that the SMORE interface was rather intuitive for site owners who want in on semantic web.