Hi SA Dev,
I've been meaning to introduce Doug Puchalski, who is busy working on a
number of truly ground-breaking enhancements to the Social Actions API.
Doug, in his capacity as a programmer with Definition (
http://www.definitionstudio.com/), helped lead the development of LinkTV's
ViewChange.org platform, funded by the Gates Foundation and launched today.
Since shipping off ViewChange.org for launch, Doug has been focusing on
adding full Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Entity Extraction (EE)
capabilities to the Social Actions API. He brings to this work several years
of experience as a senior application developer as well as on the ground
lessons learned fresh from building ViewChange.org. There aren't that many
developers out there who know the semantic web inside out, let alone who
have previous experience building semantic enabled applications for the
social sector. We're really fortunate that Doug has chosen to take on this
project. Any ordinary person would have probably opted for a sabbatical
after building a platform like ViewChange.org.
Here's the briefest possible explanation of why NLP and EE capabilities
should be of interest to third parties that make use of the Social Actions
API. Whereas in the past, our best effort to return issue- and region-based
search results was limited to the uniqueness of keywords, semantic analysis
will help us disambiguate actions that use the same terms but are referring
to entirely different topics. Think 'political environment' and 'economic
climate'. These terms have a track record of spitting out off topic
But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
By using third party tools to identify universally identified issue areas,
Social Actions will then be able to participate in the Linked Open Data
cloud that Tim Berners-Lee and the W3C have been promoting. In non-tech
language, this means that Social Actions will become one of many linked
databases that help to organize the world's knowledge into clusters of
actionable knowledge. By linking our semantically enabled database with
others, anyone will be able to build applications that allow users to drill
down into the background, geography, and political context that an action
references and pull up reports, maps, videos, images, documents, people,
news items, etc. By the same token, the Linked Open Data cloud will permit
someone browsing news in one location to seamlessly tap into Social Actions'
repository of *truly* (not possibly) related actions.
ViewChange.org (which uses Social Actions to source a portion of its
actions) is the first application to demonstrate this model. There will be
more to come thanks to LinkTV's leadership and Definition's talented
developers (including Doug). And all of this activity will empower social
tech innovators to more effortlessly connect people with high impact actions
they can take on the issues they care about.
This is the beginning of a very exciting chapter in Social Actions'
evolution. I'm happy to share it with all of you here.
And thank you Doug for sharpening the edges of the Social Actions API.
Before year's end, we'll be as cutting edge as ever...
Did I hear someone say Change the Web, Part 2?