Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Calais goes semantic


Just last week my wife and myself spent a few days in France and while travelling back I was catching up on some editions of For Immediate Release, which covers just everything you need to know about communications and the online environment. It just so happened that as we approached the North French coast Neville and Shel started talking about Calais, but it was not the nearby town but a new access devise created by Reuters as a test-bed for public access to what is referred to as the semantic web.

A few years ago I went to a conference which set out what XML can do for you. My conclusion was, in ignorance, very little. The semantic web is an open attempt to make our use of the net more relevant by allowing computers to understand what they are looking for.

A short example: If you are searching for references to the financial services company Zurich, you will get lots of references to the Swiss town. If a computer has these names 'tagged' with a meaning then you could filter out all the town references, and all of a sudden the results are more accurate and meaningful. This will be a massive help to accurate research enabling far more accurate online analysis.
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