Structured blogging, semantics and tags

I have been meaning to blog about the structured blogging idea for quite some time now. The idea is this…

Structured blogging is about making a movie review look different from a calendar entry. On the surface, it’s as simple as that – formatting blog entries around their content.

On another level, it’s a bit more complicated – what we want to do is create structure (in the form of XML) around each of these types of entries, to organize the data inside and to let machine readers – other programs, sites, and aggregators – better understand the content.

Yep great can not disagree with that. Greg from Blogdigger has been thinking about this too. The overall concept is a interesting one for myself, but I see lots of connections with the semantic blogging idea which has been pioneered by the great guys at HP Research Labs, for quite some time now. Generally Semantic blogging for me seems to be adding machine readable meta-data to the content of the blog entry. Blojsom for ages has had meta ability for years now, which I have not really made full use of yet. But theres lots of work already moving ahead in this area around FOAF, XFN and Tagging or Folksonomy.

With Friend of a Friend (FOAF) its easy to put a link to a persons name and there FOAF profile. I'm sure it would be trivial to add a rel attribute to the link for more context. Which leads nicely on the XFN idea which is exactly that. Using rel attributes and a classification of types to represent human relationships using hyperlinks. Works well but I would like to get rid of the classification and go more fuzzy like tagging. The best examples of tagging full stop has to be Del.icio.us, Flickr and others but tagging on personal blogs is still quite new. Oreilly's radar points to whats possible with a little time and lots of meta-data in entries. Technorati makes this possible via there site. For example I have tagged and in this entry and sent them a ping to make sure they pick it up. Theres nothing special in the links besides the rel attribute which is set to tag.

I also have to agree with Greg about what happens to the meta-data beyond the blog. I really want to see RSS feeds with the same meta-data making its way towards aggregator via namespaces and rdf. GRDDL is good and well worth looking into for the future. But once again this is all covered in the semantic blogging ideas. It has been a long time in coming but I disagree that the time is right. Blogging Clients need to change to reflect these changes otherwise no one except a handfull of people are going to manually put in meta-data into there posts. I will because i'm jazzed about meta-data and semantic blogging, others will not. Even if the benefits are different looking entries on there own blogs.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.