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Note: the article needs updating.

The Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities project ( SIOC ) has revised their web site. The content is better organized, more accessible and interactive ( using the Drupal CMS by the way ). The one-page guides provide a quick introduction to SIOC.

They focus on the the social possibilities for the Semantic Web, primarily blogging. This in contrast to my own focus, that is the "knowledge web/wiki-on-steroids" vision of the Semantic Web. However, semantic interlinking is necessarily knowledge sharing, so there is a good deal of overlap in the area of RDF/OWL inferencing.

Note that their ontology is basically a list of all the things on the web they recognize and the relationships between things.

  • Can I understand the subject and content of the blog or posting ?
  • Can I convert it or summarize it, for instance by creating a high-level map of people and subjects to navigate through semantic interconnections ?
  • Can information from different sources be combined in useful ways ?

This is how they describe their mission.

SIOC provides methods for interconnecting discussion methods such as blogs, forums and mailing lists to each other. It consists of the SIOC ontology, an open-standard machine readable format for expressing the information contained both explicitly and implicitly in internet discussion methods, of SIOC metadata producers for a number of popular blogging platforms and content management systems, and of storage and browsing / searching systems for leveraging this SIOC data.

The SIOC Wiki has a long list of SIOC implementations ( last update May 2007 ). The PHP Export API lists four types of known objects in the SIOC world - Sites, Users, Forums and Posts.

The PHP Export API provides an easy way for developers to create SIOC exporters, as it maps SIOC Classes to PHP objects, with simple functions to export the created data.

There is even a Drupal SIOC module with a good description of SIOC API functions ( production release for Drupal 4 only, developer releases for 5 and 6 ) .

SIOC (Semantically-Interconnected Online Communities) project is an open specification for describing communities using online discussion forums or blogs, leading to what some may term "distributed conversations". At the moment, online communities are islands that are not interlinked, and the SIOC ontology has been proposed to not only link these communities but to leverage data in ways that were previously unknown.

Clearly, there us a distance to go before the Semantically-Interconnected Web is a reality, but new foundations are being built upon the old, and that often makes for stable, standards-based technology in the long run.

They have tons of good links, mostly on the front page. I wish they would install the Drupal Links module, so it would easier to find them ...


Tags:   Semantic   Web   -   Projects

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