schema.org

Schema.org Introduces Concept of Role

Image of soccer team depicting question: What is this player's role?In a post yesterday at the official schema.org blog, Vicki Tardif Holland (Google) and Jason Johnson (Microsoft) have announced that schema.org has created a way to more richly describe relationships between entities in structured markup. The addition of the “Role” schema allows for the description of more complex relationships than were previously possible. In the post, the authors cite the business need as one that is often found in the domains of entertainment and sports.

For example, in schema.org, it can be asserted that Bill Murray was an actor in the film Ghostbusters [Fig. 1].

visualization of the basic relationship between Bill Murray as an actor Ghostbusters.

Figure 1

That’s all well and good, but how can one extend this relationship to include more detail such as the name of the character Mr. Murray played in the film? More on that in a moment.

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New schema.org Technical Brief Available from LRMI and Cetis

Image of Technical Brief by LRMI about schema.org.The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) has released a technical briefing about schema.org. The paper was co-authored by Phil Barker and Lorna M. Campbell of Cetis, the Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards.

LRMI, which we have reported on here, “has developed a common metadata framework for describing or ‘tagging’ learning resources on the web.”

The Cetis website says, “This briefing describes schema.org for a technical audience. It is aimed at people who may want to implement schema.org markup in websites or other tools they build but who wish to know more about the technical approach behind schema.org and how to implement it. We also hope that this briefing will be useful to those who are evaluating whether to implement schema.org to meet the requirements of their own organization.”

In making the announcement in a W3C list, Barker explained, “We often find that when explaining the technology approach of LRMI we are mostly talking about schema.org, so this briefing, which describes the schema.org specification for a technical audience should be of interest to anyone thinking about implementing or using LRMI in a website or other tool. It should also be of interest to people who plan to use schema.org for describing other types of resources.”

The technical brief can be downloaded from:

http://publications.cetis.ac.uk/2014/960

Structured Data In The Spotlight At The New York Times

Photo credit : Eric Franzon

Photo credit : Eric Franzon

In the winter of 2012, The New York Times began its implementation of the schema.org compatible version of rNews, a standard for embedding machine-readable publishing metadata into HTML documents, to improve the quality and appearance of its search results, as well as generate more traffic through algorithmically generated links. The semantic markup for news articles brought to its web pages structured data properties to define author, the date a work was created, its editor, headline, and so on.

But according to a leaked New York Times internal innovation report that appears here, there’s more work to be done in the structured data realm as part of a grand plan to truly put digital first in the face of falling website and smartphone app readership and hotter competition from both old guard and new age newsrooms and social media properties that are transforming how journalism is delivered for an audience increasingly invested in mobile, social, and personalized technologies.

The report was put together with insights from parties including Evan Sandhaus, director for search, archives and semantics at The NY Times, who was instrumental in the rNews/schema.org effort as well as the TimesMachine relaunch, a digital archive of 46,592 issues of The New York Times whose use includes surrounding current news stories with context. While the report notes that the Gray Lady has not been standing still in the face of its challenges, citing newsroom advances to grow audience with efforts such as using data to inform decisions, it needs to do more – faster – to make it easy to get its content in front of digital readers.

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Schema.org Takes Action

actionstatusThis week saw schema.org introduce vocabulary that enables websites to describe the actions they enable and how these actions can be invoked, in the hope that these additions will help unleash new categories of applications, according to a new post by Dan Brickley.

This represents an expansion of the vocabulary’s focus point from describing entities to taking action on these entities. The work has been in progress, Brickley explains here, for the last couple of years, building on the http://schema.org/Action types added last August by providing a way of describing the capability to perform actions in the future.

The three action status type now includes PotentialActionStatus for a description of an action that is supported, ActiveActionStatus for an in-progress action, and CompletedActionStatus, for an action that has already taken place.

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Semantic Markup Pays Off But For Whom?

schemapix1 Many eyes are turning to research being done by SEO optimization vendor Searchmetrics about the virtues of semantic markup. Exploring the enrichment of search results through microdata integration, it says it has analyzed “tens of thousands of representative keywords, and rankings for over half a million domains from our comprehensive database, for the effect of the use of schema.org markup in terms of dissemination and integration type.”

Its study is still underway but so far its initial findings include good news – that is, that semantic markup succeeds:

  • Larger domains are more likely to embrace structured data markup, and the most popular markups relate to movies, offers, and reviews.  That said, overall, domains aren’t flocking to integrate Schema HTML tags.

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Google’s Structured Data Dashboard Now Offers Markup Error Reports

goo

According to a new post by Mariya Moeva on the Google Webmaster Blog, “Since we launched the Structured Data dashboard last year, it has quickly become one of the most popular features in Webmaster Tools. We’ve been working to expand it and make it even easier to debug issues so that you can see how Google understands the marked-up content on your site. Starting today, you can see items with errors in the Structured Data dashboard. This new feature is a result of a collaboration with webmasters, whom we invited in June to>register as early testers of markup error reporting in Webmaster Tools. We’ve incorporated their feedback to improve the functionality of the Structured Data dashboard.” Read more

Welcome Schema.org v1.0e

rsz_shema-org-logoWord has come from Dan Brickley that Schema.org Version 1.0e has been published.

He notes in a posting that the release includes a schema for describing Orders and Accessibility properties applied to the CreativeWork type. The latter draws upon the IMS Global Learning Consortium’s Access For All specification and the work of the Accessibility Metadata Project. The inclusion of accessibility metadata in the Schema.org collection is designed to help people to easily find content that meets their individual needs and preferences.

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Where Schema.org Is At: A Chat With Google’s R.V. Guha

 

rvg Interested in how schema.org has trended in the last couple of years since its birth? If you were at The International Semantic Web Conference event in Sydney a couple of weeks back, you may have caught Google Fellow Ramanathan V. Guha — the mind behind schema.org — present a keynote address about the initiative.

Of course, Australia’s a far way to go for a lot of people, so The Semantic Web Blog is happy to catch everyone up on Guha’s thoughts on the topic.

We caught up with him when he was back stateside:

The Semantic Web Blog: Tell us a little bit about the main focus of your keynote.

Guha: The basic discussion was a progress report on schema.org – its history and why it came about a couple of years ago. Other than a couple of panels at SemTech we’ve maintained a rather low profile and figured it might be a good time to talk more about it, and to a crowd that is different from the SemTech crowd.

The short version is that the goal, of course, is to make it easier for mainstream webmasters to add structured data markup to web pages, so that they wouldn’t have to track down many different vocabularies, or think about what Yahoo or Microsoft or Google understands. Before webmasters had to champion internally which vocabularies to use and how to mark up a site, but we have reduced that and also now it’s not an issue of which search engine to cater to.

It’s now a little over two years since launch and we are seeing adoption way beyond what we expected. The aggregate search engines see about 15 percent of the pages we crawl have schema.org markup. This is the first time we see markup approximately on the order of the scale of the web….Now over 5 million sites are using it.  That’s helped by the mainstream platforms like Drupal and WordPress adopting it so that it becomes part of the regular workflow. Read more

The Future of SEO: Panelists At SemTechBiz Weigh In

SEO is dead. Long Live SEO. A panel discussion.Where is SEO going? A panel hosted by Aaron Bradley, Internet marketing manager at InfoMine, Inc. at this week’s Semantic Technology & Business Conference in NYC took on the issue at full force. The session, featuring Bing senior product manager Duane Forrester,  semantic web strategist and independent consultant Barbara H. Starr, Swellpath SEO Team Manager Mike Arnesen, and author and analyst David Amerland (see our Q&A with him here), provided some insight into why it’s an exciting time to be working in both semantic technology and search – and why that’s also a scary proposition for some in the SEO set who’ve lived by keywords and links.

On the exciting side of things, Arnesen pointed out that it was always a somewhat unnatural process to have to advise clients to craft content so that it can match to specific keywords to get traction. “Now we can tell them to just write good content, put what you need to put on the web and it will be easier find because of semantic markup and semantic search,” he said.

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Helping Citizen Searches For Government Services

Photo courtesy: Flickr/Arjan Richter

By 2016, ABI Research has it, as much as $114 billion could be saved worldwide through the implementation of online e-government services. It predicted that investment in these services is set to increase from $28 billion in 2010 to $57 billion in 2016, and that the number of users will nearly triple over the forecast period.

Here in the states, according to a 2012 survey by GovLoop, 83 percent of respondents say that they can access government-oriented customer service efforts via a website. And the number of people who are taking advantage of the ability to access information and services on government web sites is pretty significant, even going back to 2010, when the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that 82 percent of American Internet users – 62 percent of adults – were doing so. Among its findings at the time were that 46 percent have looked up what services a government agency provides; 33 percent  have renewed a driver’s license or auto registration; 23 percent have gotten information about or applied for government benefits; and 11 percent have applied for a recreational license, such as a fishing or hunting license.

Given the interest in accessing information via the Internet about government services by the citizenry — not to mention accessing the services themselves, and not only in the US but abroad — it makes sense for governments to put an emphasis on customer service online. The Govloop survey finds that there’s room for some improvement, with the majority of respondents rating service a 3 or 4 on the scale of 1 to 5. Perhaps additional help will come from some efforts in the semantic web space, like a vocabulary for describing civic services that government organizations can use to help citizens using search engines hone in on the service that’s their true interest from the start.

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