Common Tag LogoAs strong believers in the semantic tagging (we wrote about it here and here), we are happy to announce that today one big  step toward realization of the idea is made.

Faviki is involved in the development of the  new open tagging format – Common Tag, together with AdaptiveBlue, DERI (NUI Galway), Freebase, Yahoo!, Zemanta, and Zigtag. This is the first time that this number of web companies have stepped together from day one to introduce a tagging standard.

People use tags to organize, share and discover content on the Web. However, in the absence of a common tagging format, the benefits of tagging have been limited. Individual things like New York City are often represented by multiple tags (like “nyc”, “new_york_city”, and “newyork”), making it difficult to organize related content; and it is not always clear what a particular tag represents – does the tag “orange” represent the fruit or the color?

The Common Tag format was developed to address the current shortcomings of tagging and help everyone, including end users, publishers, and developers get more out of Web content. It is an outcome of an effort to develop the easiest way to let publishers get more out of their content by semantically marking it up.

Common Tag format is based on RDFa, a standard mechanism for placing structured content within HTML documents. The format uses the URIs of concepts defined on the Web as a way of anchoring the meaning of Tag objects. Common concepts can be found, among others, in two big databases of structured content (or controlled vocabularies, as librarians call it) – Freebase and DBpedia.

Common Tag is based on a small vocabulary defining:

  • A class Tag, which holds the metadata provided by a Common Tag for a specific Resource.
  • Two properties:
    • tagged (connects a document to the Tag)
    • means (connects the Tag to the concept’s URI)

There are also few subclasses and optional properties, you can have a look at the whole specification. Also, developers may feel free to make use of RDFa’s flexibility to extend the expressiveness of the Common Tag format.

An example of two tags indicating that the document is about Twitter (DBpedia URI) and Web 2.0 (Freebase URI):

<body xmlns:ctag="http://commontag.org/ns#" rel="ctag:tagged">
    <span typeof="ctag:Tag"
              rel="ctag:means" resource="http://dbpedia/resource/Twitter" />

    <span typeof="ctag:Tag"
              rel="ctag:means" resource="http://rdf.freebase.com/ns/en/web_2_0" />
</body>

Faviki has implemented the Common Tag format (check out the extracted RDFa from Faviki Semantic Web topic page), and we hope that our users will benefit from it, as more publishers, developers and end users join in supporting the Common Tag format.

http://dbpedia/resource/Twitter
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W3C Semantic Web Activity logoWe are honored to have been invited to write a case study about Faviki and the idea behind semantic tags for the W3C Semantic Web Activity website.

The goal of W3C SW case studies is, primarily, to help the Web community at large understand and appreciate the advantages of possibly using Semantic Web technologies in real applications. It was a challenge to write a document that should convince (often skeptical) IT  managers and other technology people that there can be made some interesting applications based on SW technology.

I tried to show the benefits of  using the semantic tags and described how they are used in Faviki. The key idea of the case study is that the semantic tags, as an intersection point of Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web, have the potential to enable much faster evolution of the Web by providing a solid foundation from which the Semantic Web can grow soundly.

I already wrote on this blog about the need for a tag evolution back in May, so I was happy to present the idea, that has matured in the meantime, to a wider audience.

Many thanks to Ivan Herman for this opportunity and the comments which helped make the entry better.

Also, a big thank you to Maja, Sebastian and Rod for their suggestions.

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