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Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Topics in weblogs

Seth Ladd's SemErgence weblog (which I found thanks to Jamie Pitts, whom I discovered because he listed himself on the wiki page I set up a few hours ago) has been concerning itself with topics in weblogs lately. It will be interesting to see where these efforts will lead - presumably it will turn out a little different from the Internet Topic Exchange and K-collector efforts, given the RDF bent.

Speaking of the Topic Exchange, next month I will be presenting a paper about it by Phil Pearson and myself, titled "A Topic Sharing Infrastructure for Weblog Networks" (pdf, 500k), at the Communication Networks and Services Research conference. Here's the abstract:

Weblogs have recently emerged as a popular means of sharing information on the Web. While they effectively foster the networking of participants on a one-to-one basis, so far they have been lacking the capacity of allowing the establishment of many-to-many communication relationships. This paper describes recent work on facilitating group-forming processes and the sharing of content among weblog authors with shared interests. We have designed, implemented and tested the Internet Topic Exchange, a system that enables weblog posts to be shared among open groups in the form that we call topic channels. After nearly a year of operation, more than 200 topic channels have been created; several of them have been very active and have brought together many participants. This suggests that our approach to enabling weblog authors and topical content to cluster while retaining the advantages of personal publishing is a viable one.

This post also appears on channel weblog research

What do you think? []  links to this post    6:43:57 PM  
Blood's Law of Weblog History:

"The year you discovered weblogs and/or started your own is 'The Year Blogs Exploded'."

(from Melanie McBride's insightful "Linked Out: Blogging, Equality, and the Future" article in Mindjack)

What do you think? []  links to this post    3:38:28 PM  
Creating a self-organizing weblog directory

As everyone has noticed by now, the blogosphere is rather tricky to get around in, especially for newcomers, and the efforts at mapping it have remained pretty much scattered and fragmentary. Even if you restrict your view to the small space of academic weblogs, things aren't really better. Alex Halavais has launched into an effort of his own in that space, and upon reading this I've started a Wiki page to help find a promising strategy for enabling a self-organizing directory of research weblogs. You're welcome to contribute. Antonio Granado and Catarina Reis, the curators of the PhDWeblogs database (which gets many things right), are also in on this.

"Old"-timers may recall that a couple years ago the weblog metadata initiative was started with a similar aim; alas, it seems moribund now, but it may be time to revive the idea.

Right now I see the most promise in a GeoURL-like scheme with badges that link back and provide visibility and a metadata harvester to collect the data. However, not everyone likes them badges (exhibit A: ico_hate_these.gif , found while fishing for 'em), and the issue of having everyone fiddle with their main page templates in order to register is an unwelcome obstacle.

But you know what would be great? (I hope some of the Six Apart folks will read this..) Having a badges section in the management section, which would enable drag-and-drop addition of badges to the main page's template. The process would work like this: 1- You register at some metatag service and it gives you a "badge code" (just a string of HTML). 2- You paste that code in your badges section and your main page template is automagically updated to show the newly added badge. Falls short of being ridiculously easy, but I'm sure many people find the prospect of trying to locate stuff in their template file daunting.

I think this should be an ongoing conversation, so I've created a Topic Exchange channel for weblog metadata. Use it to draw attention to your posts that relate to that topic. If you have a TrackBack-capable tool, just link to the channel's page from within your post and a reciprocal link will show up. If not (or if it didn't work), use the form provided at the bottom of the page.

This post also appears on the open channel weblog metadata

What do you think? []  links to this post    1:03:39 PM  
Narasimha Chari's technology weblog

VenChar - interesting, hi-signal technology weblog, by Narasimha Chari. A recent post describes MySQL as a textbook case of disruptive innovation. I also learned about the Goldilocks pricing trick - introducing a premium product to boost sales of your mid-range one. I'm subscribed.

What do you think? []  links to this post    9:07:32 AM  

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