Cyber Moon

Mother Earth, what can I say? You have a great looking kid.

tower moon

People Semantics

Danny gets sudsy

Recovered from Wayback Machine.

Mark Woodman did a nice interview with Danny Ayers on life, love, corner offices overlooking chicken coops, and cats.

Weeellll, not really. The focus of the interview was Danny’s steadfast work with XML, RDF, Atom, and his new book, Beginning RSS and Atom (an excellent book, by the way, and rich with detail and Lotsa Code).

Danny talks about RSS 1.0 and how the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be…well….actually, she is what she used to be. Anyway, he says not to discount the old girl just yet. Now the rest of the world is into Meta, her time has come.

One thing, though — RSS 1.0 is not RDF. By this, I don’t mean it’s not based on the RDF model, and created using RDF/XML. No, I mean that the two are not synonymous.

When I ported my soon-to-be released extensive metadata layer for weblogs to WordPress, the first problem I ran into was the tool used ‘rdf’ in URLs to indicated an RSS 1.0 syndication feed. In my own Wordform, I use rss1, which is much more accurate. RSS 1.0 is the syndication feed; RDF is the model/syntax. You don’t use ‘xml’ to indicated Atom, and you don’t use ‘winer’ to indicate RSS 2.0. So tool makers — stop using ‘rdf’ when you mean RSS 1.0.

I mean it. I’m going to start getting pissy about this.

Oh, and I also want to extend my congratulations to Les on getting engaged. Your lady is a luck woman, Les.


What is a tag?

I’ve been incorporating the semantic data my application gathers into weblog posts. You can see it in operation over at Burningbird, in the individual posts (see references example below and the photo example).

During this, I ran into a wall on the topic of tags. I wanted to record tag-like information as RDF statements, but then I realized that I don’t necessarily know what tags are.

According to and furl, tags are ways of publishing bookmarks to a broader audience, in addition to categorizing your links. Since the sites are for bookmarking, adding links to your own work is frowned on.

In Flickr, tags are ways of categorizing your work, pure and simple. You may specifically use certain tags to participate in a community, but the majority of use is to classify one’s own work.

In Technorati, though, which is the one I’m most closely examining, a tag is a way of classifying your work for some purpose. According to the Technorati Tag instructions, you can link it to a Technorati page, but you can also link it to a Wikipedia or other page. However, according to the Technorati Wiki a tag is meant to reference a page that will aggregate the results (this is a wiki, note that text just quoted is subject to change). And therein lies the confusion about ‘purpose’.

If tags used in the sense that Technorati uses them are meant to help aggregate content actively, then yes, there needs to be specific pages and/or sites for the target URI–ones that actively gather and than republish incoming links.

However, if tags are meant to be more passively consumed, with bots going out and gathering the information, than as long as an agreed on format is used, any page can be linked (well, as long as you don’t link the same URL twice in the same document — Technorati sees this as spam).

I can’t map ‘tag’ into the semantic webspace using RDF if I can’t find a common meaning between all these distinct uses of the concept of ‘tag’. I spent time last night with this, and again this morning, but nothing fits.

I noticed that Norm Walsh used the relMeta wiki page as a namespace for a tiny self-contained schema reflecting ‘tag’ he uses in his taxonomy. That’s an option, I guess. But then, does that mean the Technorati namespaced schema doesn’t apply to, furl, and Flickr?