I had a very interesting conversation with Jenny Zaino from SemanticWeb.com a few days ago. We were talking about the idea of semantic tagging, our participation in creating CommonTag format, the role of Wikipedia and Google in developing the Semantic Web, as well as about future plans for Faviki.

We were also chatting about new features from the Faviki last release – the possibility for users to use their own names of tags and map them to semantic tags, as well as letting them to create new tags outside of Wikipedia with help of Google search.

You can read the article here.

The latest release delivers better control over tagging, custom names for tags, defining new tags, Save API and OpenID support.

We are happy to announce the addition of several new features. The purpose of the new features is mainly to facilitate the use of common tags from Wikipedia, as well as to overcome Wikipedia’s limitations as a controlled vocabulary for semantic tags.

Tagging emerged as an extremely popular way to integrate and organize data, due to its simplicity and flexibility. However, free-word tags do not have defined meanings, so it isn’t always clear what a particular tag represents. Does the tag “jaguar” represent the animal, the car company, or the operating system?

On the other hand, common, “semantic” tags are unique, well-defined concepts that allow people to state what a web page is exactly about. Semantic tags come at a price, though. They reintroduce structure, the absence of which was the main reason why tagging has become so popular.

The question is: Is it possible to make semantic tags as flexible as classic ones? Can humans accept and love the format intended for machines? Today’s release is Faviki’s attempt to answer this challenge.

Features in this release include:

Enhanced tagging interface

Universal Wikipedia tags are often too long and too hard to enter and the exact name of a tag has to be known beforehand. Furthermore, tags are personal items – a private association to some concept. They are often based on emotions, for instance: the nickname “Pippo” instead of the full name of the soccer player “Filippo Inzaghi”.

The new release makes it possible to use custom names for tags. Tags are added in free form, resembling classic tagging. If Faviki doesn’t understand a tag provided by a user, it will ask her to disambiguate it. It will then remember her choice and, next time, it will know what she means.

Faviki “learns” about user’s name of the tag

Faviki “learns” about user’s name of the tag

This is possible by connecting the idea of tagging with the idea of searching. Tags are used as keywords for a Google search that is restricted to Wikipedia’s domain. After all, tags and keywords are subjective associations to unique concepts and Google search is a great way to find URLs that represent these concepts. This way, users can use keywords as custom tags for Wikipedia URLs.

In addition, custom names for tags can also be modified explicitly on the Tag page.

Defining new tags

Wikipedia is the world’s largest encyclopedia, but it still covers only a small portion of the real world. There is a large number of concepts that are either too specialized or do not possess sufficient “notability” to be included in a common encyclopedia.

We already take for granted that every company or organization has a URL and that most people we know have some kind of web page, a blog, a social network profile or a company page that represents them online.

Faviki exploited this fact in one of its new features – defining new tags. New tags are added the same way as Wikipedia tags. The difference is that, this time, Google search is not restricted to Wikipedia’s domain, but only a few of the top results are allowed to be selected. Google returns web pages from the whole Web and users collaboratively create new tags and decide which URLs are the best candidates for new concepts.

Users collaboratively decide the best URLs for a concept

Users collaboratively decide the best URLs for a concept

Save/Edit API

The Faviki Save/Edit API is a simple API that provides a way to save and edit bookmarks from other applications.

OpenID support

Faviki finally supports OpenID. It uses RPX, a service which integrates various OpenID implementations from Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, along with plain OpenID.

Other features/improvements

  • Smarter autocomplete list
    The autocomplete list is an alternative way of finding and adding tags. It is now powered by DBpedia lookup – a powerful search API for Wikipedia concepts.
  • Converting tags
    This feature allows users to convert any of their tags to another tag across all of their bookmarks.
  • Spam control
    Bookmarks of no value for users can easily be marked as spam. Bookmarks that were marked as spam by a certain number of users are hidden.
  • Export/backup bookmarks
    Bookmarks can be exported along with semantic tags in the standard HTML bookmarks format.
  • Tag description tooltip
    A short abstract with an image, if there is any, shown when a mouse is held over a tag name, helps users choose the right tag. The data is fetched from DBpedia in real time.

Thanks to all of our users who have given us the feedback regarding the new features on Faviki. Stay tuned, further information will be released on the blog soon!

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