Glenn Engstrand

Adopting Linked Data In Your Apps

Original web visionary, Tim Berners-Lee, gave a talk at the TED conference earlier this year in which he advocated for mass adoption of linked data. Linked data seems to be getting some traction and is a less ambitious version of a web initiative known as the semantic web whose adoption has been lackluster.

Part of the problem to the original semantic web was in its complexity and lack of toolset which presented a formidable barrier to entry for web content providers. Linked data and microformats are two approaches to reducing the complexity and Open Calais is a freely available technology that content providers can easily use to add more semantic web capability to their apps.

I’ve been looking at Calais for quite some time and have been somewhat disappointed with the results in the past. Recently, I read that CNET was adopting Calais so I decided to give it another try.

Revisiting the Calais site, I saw that they had been quite busy rounding out their still free technology offerings. I decided to evaluate their Marmoset technology which is a very easy way to add linked data capability to your LAMP applications. What I did was Marmoset enable the challenge pages for Cogenuity which is our collective social intelligence platform.

Here is how Marmoset works on Cogenuity. When you point your web browser to any Cogenuity challenge, say this one about online marketing, you get the regular page but when either the Google or Yahoo search engine spiders that page, it gets a page with some additional, special, search engine only links added to it. Those links get created based on what Marmoset decided was organizations, people, or industry terms that it found when parsing the original content of the page.

The integration with Marmoset is really easy.

  • Get an API Key
  • Download and install Marmoset
  • Make two simple changes to the conf.php file
  • Add some boilerplate code (two lines each) to both the top and bottom of each PHP page that you are integrating

Linked Data is a leaner, meaner, and smarter way to semantic web and Calais has grown up a lot these past couple of years to be a quite relevant and capable technology to leverage in your application portfolio.

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