Saturday, February 13, 2010

VALA 2010 - Tuesday afternoon (b)

The afternoon sessions continued with information about another site using federated search followed by an introduction to the use of the semantec web and linked data.

All aboard ParlInfo:the journey towards integrated access to bibliographic and full text information from the Parliament of Australia
ParlInfo has been developed to provide federal government information to members of parliament, those working in government and also the general public. It was designed to incorporate changes in user expectations and utilise new developments in information technology including social networking. The site uses federated searching and plus Google-like functionality. Search options include Basic Search, Advanced Search and Guided (canned) Search. In The user can also browse collections and then narrow the search using provided options. Collections include Bills, Hansard, Notice papers, House of Representatives votes and procedures, Senate journals, Biographies of current members, Library catalogue and Parliament of Australia website. The site recognises internal and external users and external users need to log on especially if they want to use web 2.0 features including RSS and alerts. The site is still a work in progress. Future developments will be the digitisation of all Hansards and old Bills. The Parliament of Australia website is also being updated.

Next up? the linked content economy
The highlight of the afternoon was the plenary session presented by Thomas Tague from Thomson Reuters, USA. The session provided a preview of the next development in the use of human knowledge systems. Tom Tague described the first stage of the web as collecting and putting online content with the second stage the emphasis on social networking. This has resulted in a mixture of information often making it harder to discover what we are looking for. Semantec metatagging will assist users locate the information required from the mass of information available online.

Wikipedia has an article describing the Semantec Web and another on Linked Data, two of the concepts described in the talk.

Thomson Reuters purchased software for generating semantec metadata and in January 2008 made it available as open source software, OpenCalais. The Calais Viewer is avalilable for potential users of the software to see how it works. A document is submitted and the software automatically generates tags relating to events, people, facts and linking the information in the document to information on other sites on the web.

The use of Open Calais for preparing and presenting auto-generated tags is provided in this example of a search for telescopes on the Powerhouse Museum website. Other projects using Calais include Media Cloud and DocumentCloud. The metadata generated via Calais is kept by Thomson Reuters for further projects.

The use of auto-generated tags and linked data greatly expands online research opportunities and historical and genealogical research were two fields mentioned where this could be used. Discussion also centred around using Open Calais with WorldCat. The talk provided an introduction to the possibilities of future development of the web - Web 3.0.

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