Sunday, February 05, 2006

Semantic Web, Where art thou?

Earlier in the week I read this from Doc in response to questions from Dave Rogers.

In March of last year I compared this to rolling snowballs. I brought up the making and changing minds point in that post as well. That very post, by the way, offered evidence of that assertion's validity:
A few days ago I pretty much came down on the side of Terry Gross and Fresh Air in that show's abortive conflict with Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, even though I cringed when she made a late hit on O'Reilly after he walked out of the interview...
Jay Rosen also chimed in with Bill O'Reilly and the Paranoid Style in News. Jay changed my mind because, as usual, he digs deeper...
Either Dave chose to ignore that evidence, or he just dislikes it on other grounds. Like, perhaps, that it's a generalization. Did I suggest that blogging is only about making and changing minds? I don't think so, but I can see why Dave might. He seems to like his truths in literal form, and snarks about my fondness for metaphor. We're different.

There is yet another possibility, and I believe the one at play here. It's almost impossible to find out what Doc thinks about a subject without actually reading his whole archive and searching for it. We don't have a semantic web, Doc doesn't do tagging (it's nearest substitute), so it's neigh impossible to find the quote Doc chose to use.

Doc knew about the quote because he had it in his memory. If it were something 10 years old, I doubt even he'd have been able to find it, in order to reference it. We need better tools to organize the massive quantities of stuff we create daily. Pure text search kinda works when you have all of the web to integrate over, because on average someone will have used just the right keywords to get a hit. When you go to a smaller sample size, then the usefulness of text searching goes dramatically downhill.

Now, I don't think it would be an efficient allocation of Doc's time to force him to index all of his archive. I'm not even sure that tagging would help the rest of us. Clearly more discussion and research is needed.


1 comment:

genevieve tucker said...

Mike, have you seen much of the Structured Blogging crowd - I have a v.short post with some links at my blog.
Just beginning to cast around for info on these things, influenced up to a point by Clay Shirky's remark a while back that 'there is no shelf on the Internet', i.e. that classifying and sorting content on the Web should explore new ways of thinking rather than finding a place for things to be found in.
When I get a break from what I'm working on, I will find that article and send you the URL - or you can put the remark into Google and see what comes up.