Frederic Filloux of Quartz recently wrote, “Most media organizations are still stuck in version 1.0 of linking. When they produce content, they assign tags and links mostly to other internal content. This is done out of fear that readers would escape for good if doors were opened too wide. Assigning tags is not exact science: I recently spotted a story about the new pregnancy in the British royal family; it was tagged ‘demography,’ as if it was some piece about Germany’s weak fertility rate.”
Filloux continues, “The whole mechanism is improving… But there is much more to come in that field. Two factors are at work: APIs and semantic improvements. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) act like the receptors of a cell that exchanges chemical signals with other cells. It’s the way to connect a wide variety of content to the outside world. A story, a video, a graph can ‘talk’ to and be read by other publications, databases, and other “organisms.” But first, it has to pass through semantic filters. From a text, the most basic tools extract sets of words and expressions such as named entities, patronyms, places.”
He goes on, “Another higher level involves extracting meanings like “X acquired Y for Z million dollars” or “X has been appointed finance minister.” But what about a video? Some go with granular tagging systems; others, such as Ted Talks, come with multilingual transcripts that provide valuable raw material for semantic analysis. But the bulk of content remains stuck in a dumb form: minimal and most often unstructured tagging… Once these issues are solved, a complete new world of knowledge emerges. Enter ‘Semantic Culturomics.’ The term has been coined by two scholars working in France, Fabian Suchanek and Nicoleta Preda.”
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