There are billions of pages of unsorted and unclassified information online, which make up millions of terabytes of data with almost no organisation. It is not necessarily true that some of this information is valuable whilst some is worthless, that’s just a judgement for who desires it. At the moment, the most common way to access any information is through the hegemonic search engines which act as an entry point.
Yet, despite Google’s dominace of the market and culture, the methodology of search still isn’t satisfactory. Leading technologists see the next stage of development coming, where computers will become capable of effectively analysing and understanding data rather than just presenting it to us. Search engine optimisation will eventually be replaced by the ‘semantic web’.
The kitemark idea seems to have stirred up the most fuss. In the first of a series of email exchanges I asked Currah how he saw this making any difference to consumption of newspapers, and how it could work in practice. This is his response:
Yes, the kitemark idea has triggered quite a response… Unfortunately, as the discussion online suggests, the term has implied to many a top-down, centralised system of certification which would lead to some form of
‘apartheid’ between bloggers and journalists. Continue reading →
This month’s Carnival of Journalism looks forward to new media developments in the coming year. Here are my no doubt misguided and naive predictions:
2009 will not be the year of the mobile web
Every year we make end of year predictions that the coming year will finally see the mobile web hit the mainstream. In many ways, it already has. But any expectations of there being some significant spread in 2009 will be scuppered by the credit crunch: users will be increasingly reluctant to spend money on a smart phone as the purse strings tighten. We’re not all going to be carrying around iPhones.
On the plus side, as a result of that slowdown we can expect mobile service providers to become more competitive in their data rates and packages, so that those who do have smart phones will have more reason to take out a mobile web package. Continue reading →
Semantic journalism is a vision for the future of journalism. As the writer works on her article, her computer would gather data on the matter, from pictures to other articles to assessing global opinion trends. It would read through the Wikipedia pages of a given theme and summarize key concepts. A semantic algorithm would bring a selection of the most authoritative people on a subject.
The journalist is left with what she does best: checking and analyzing the data.
That means avoiding the pitfalls of redundant news content. That means escaping the trap of writing about topics without having a clue of what’s at stake. That means interviewing people who do things rather than those who talk about it.
This article is the first of a 4-part series. We’ll explore semantic hacks for newsgathering, writing and publishing in the coming weeks. Continue reading →