Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

Upcoming events: VoCampIbiza, FoWS and SemSearch

It’s rare that I’m involved involved in organizing three events at the same time, especially that those events take place in a period of two weeks. Nevertheless, I’m equally excited about each of them for different reasons.

The first one will be VoCampIbiza. I have a great feeling about VoCamp,  since in the year we first discussed the idea with Tom Heath, VoCamps have grown into a movement, even jumping across the Atlantic. Feeling at least partly responsible, I’ve felt the need to organize at least one such event somewhere nearby. (VoCamps are organized at different times and places unlike regular, local Semantic Web meetups which are also on the rise, see check out the Semantic Web meetup alliance)  So it’s going to take happen on Ibiza during April 15-16, on the week before WWW, and if you want to come, you just have to sign up! There is no registration fee and Ibiza is cheap to reach from many places in Europe.

The second event, the Future of Web Seach Workshop is a regular yearly get-together organized by Ricardo (Baeza-Yates), but this year it will have a special focus on semantic search. The format is again fairly flexible, no papers, only interesting presentations. (The list of presentations is already fixed and posted on the Website, but the registration is still open if you want to join!) It will take place right after VoCamp, April 17-18, so that’s again the week before WWW.

Lastly, there will be the second Semantic Search Workshop taking place at WWW in Madrid on April 21.  Together with my co-organizers (Thanh Tran Duc from AIFB in Karlsruhe, Haofen Wang from the Apex Lab and Marko Grobelnik from JSI) we already had the feeling that WWW is probably the best place to take this workshop as the conference naturally brings together researchers from IR and the Semantic Web. The number and quality of papers, as well as the number of participants who have registered so far are certainly very promising indicators!

SearchMonkey simplified

I’m proud to say that today we have released ‘SearchMonkey Objects’, which might seem like a small step in the evolution of the Monkey (huh!) but we are hoping that it will radically simplify the ramp-up for site owners when it comes to enabling rich, structured results for their websites.

So what’s happening here? Well, until now if you wanted to have an enhanced result based on metadata, you needed to mark up your site, and then create an application to transform the metadata into a search result presentation.  These applications were simple (all they do is map fields in the data to parts of a presentation template) but it still required developers to write PHP code.

We realized that this could be simpler! In particular, from now on if you provide Yahoo structured data using vocabularies (formats) that we understand, we can create a rich result for you without you having to write a single line of code! Obviously, if you want to customize the presentation to your particular site, you can still do that by writing a presentation application, but if you are happy with the standard treatment, you don’t have to.

SearchMonkey Objects is a simple website that not only shows you how to mark up your page for certain types of objects, but it also let’s you validate immediately if your markup is correct.  Again, this is something that many have asked for in the past. The first objects that we support are Video, Games and Documents, but more are on the way.

I believe this is an exciting step because it will no doubt lead to a great adoption of RDFa and other forms of semantic markup, bringing us even closer to stucturing the Web. And as always, tell us what you think!

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