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A Hint at the Future

I don’t want to be one of those sporadic bloggers that apologize whenever they go a while without posting. So I’m not apologizing.

I would like to start from the very lowest common denominator while working up to the release of my latest project.

“A Picture is worth a thousand words” — this means more to indexers than others (as any indexer is obligated by cliche to tell you).

Those words, to describe the picture, fall into the basics of the language. The majority of words may be nouns, to describe the things, places, and people featured in the still. Likewise, verbs to describe the action of the objects in the picture, whether it be the immediate action depicted, or the general event that was taking place over a wider timeframe. A still life has more action involved than at first glance. Even the camera-based data has an ability to describe the picture (btw, I would love to parse some of the Flickr metadata about camera settings — this idea came from reading Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger. More about that in another post)

Metadata must be varied enough to describe Persons, places, things (of animal, vegetable, and mineral bases), events, locations, and whatever else requires description, emanating from whatever object it is that you are describing.

In looking around at schema, rdf seems to give the ability to encapsulate multiple vocabularies to describe any of these things. It seems versatile, more-so than sticking to a single format and relying on cross-compatibility. I like the idea that I can upload a picture, describe it with Dublin Core within the framework, then focus on the person in focus on the print, and describe him using FOAF, including biographical information, clubs and associations of belonging, close friends, and a host of other information. Then, heck, to round it out I will give precise latitude and longitude for the picture in question — the URIs for the person should also hint at geographic data.

Along those lines, I will be presenting a demo of Semantic MediaWiki being used as a Digital Archive for school, then putting the demo into practice in the future for an actual project at work. This has ignited my thinking bone — and I hope to launch an ambitious new project for all to enjoy.

I want to create a FOAF-based social network, with a focus on creating networks mostly for dead people. If this seems like a waste of time, then isn’t all historical research? FOAF can be used to describe the relationships between people who are both alive and dead, what they do/did, what they liked, and how they’re described. The important features for this network would be the ability for users to edit the entries in a scholarly and democratic way (think Wikipedia), as well as Authoritative FOAF files for those people — so future projects can draw the data from a centralized location, and add their own data to the master project. Wikipedia has a lot of biographical information, but formatting it in a way that is useful for searching, browsing, and sorting entirely by a computer is another story.

As I deploy the Digital Archive project, the usefulness of Authority-based FOAF file project, I believe, will become more apparent.