A very nice presentation by Stephane Corlosquet from April 2010 titled The RDFa initiative in Drupal 7, and how it will impact the Semantic Web. The slides accompanying the presentation can be found here.
Also, a collection of screencasts on Drupal and RDF/RDFa are available below:
- Semantic Drupal — State of Drupal keynote, DrupalConSF 2010
- The Semantic Web and Drupal, part 1 – November 2009
- The Semantic Web and Drupal, part 2 – November 2009
This is a pretty well-discussed example in the Semantic Web community, but just wanted to briefly explore how Best Buy is using RDFa to semantically markup its web pages to increase the visibility of its products and services.
Let’s look at an article from ReadWriteWeb from July 2010 titled How Best Buy is Using The Semantic Web. This article is based on an interview with Jay Myers, Lead Web Development Engineer at BestBuy.com. There’s several things I’d like to highlight.
The Why – Focus on Business Objectives
OK, so this may go without saying, but the Semantic Web, for businesses, needs to be about solving business problems, not about a cool technology. And sure enough, Myers told ReadWriteWeb that “the primary goal of using semantic technologies was to increase the visibility of its products and services”.
The How – RDFa
This increase in visibility comes through using a semantic markup language called RDFa to unambiguously describes the meaning of data on a web page – data that is important to Best Buy’s business, things like Customer data, Product Data, location data, etc.
Can you show me an example?
Yeah sure. The screenshot below from the RWW article shows a Best Buy webpage, with the RDFa tags that describe the associated data elements:
Hmm, that’s pretty cool. So rather than just a whack of text and images on a page – from which a search engine would have to do its best to infer what the page is about – this web page actually exposes data that is marked up with semantic tags. These semantic tags unambiguously describe the meaning of the data.
But do the semantic tags do that? I mean, a “Services” tag could mean a lot of different things in different contexts, right?
Ontologies – standardized vocabularies of shared meaning
That’s where the GoodRelations standardized vocabulary comes in. It provides a standardized vocabulary for e-commerce that describes product, price, and company data on the Web.
The GoodRelations vocabulary provides a set of shared Terms that define common concepts in retail/e-commerce such as product, price, etc. This vocabulary is used by both vendors in their web pages, and search engines, to provide searchers on the web with results that are most relevant to their queries.
That’s pretty cool.
In Summary …
That’s it. A pretty simple concept really. Just wanted to describe it in simple terms, so that I could refer back to this post when introducing colleagues to RDFa.
Just came across a couple really great non-technical video introductions to the Semantic web; perfect for folks who are new to this next-generation of the Web.
Here’s the first video – an Intro to the Semantic Web:
… and here’s a slightly more technical video on RDFa, a core semantic markup language for HTML pages:
A very effective visual learning style.
Just beginning to explore where various Content Managment Systems are at with respect to their vision for the Semantic Web.
I find it interesting that Dries Buytaert, the original creator and project lead of Drupal, stressed the importance of the Semantic Web, and RDF, graph-based data representations, in his State of Drupal keynote in Boston in 2008.
Of particular interest, is his emphasis on treat database fields as first-class citizens, as the slide below emphasizes:
And, of course, Buytaert’s prescient support of RDF in the core of the Drupal platform:
And, of course, the punchline for a Web of Data:
Since this talk in the Spring of 2008, a continued focus on Semantic Web technologies from Drupal. See the following:
- Drupal, the semantic web and search
- RDFa and Drupal
- Structured data is the new search engine optimization
– October 2008
– March 16 2009
– May 2009
BTW, here’s a nice video that was presented at DrupalCon DC 2009 titled RDFa in Drupal – examples and use cases.
Think it might be time to look more closely at Drupal.
A very nice introduction to RDFa semantic markup for HTML pages by Mark Birbeck. This presentation is from a Google talk Mark gave in June 2009.
[Warning: This talk is definitely for a technically-inclined audience. But if you are technically-inclined, and want to learn about the RDFa approach to semantically marking up HTML web pages, this is a great video.]
The code samples can be more clearly seen in the accompanying slide presentation.