Open ID

Just discovered that stuff developped by Danga. Not sure I understand exactly how it's supposed to work.
An OpenID identity is just a URL. You can have multiple identities in the same way you can have multiple URLs. All OpenID does is provide a way to prove that you own a URL (identity). And it does this without passing around your password, your email address, or anything you don't want it to. There's no profile exchange component at all: your profiile is your identity URL, but recipients of your identity can then learn more about you from any public, semantically interesting documents linked thereunder (FOAF, RSS, Atom, vCARD, etc.).


To Tag or Not to Tag, That Is the Question

For those who feel some overdose of hype in recent posts about folksonomies, folksologies, tagging and the like, this is a useful antidote (sort of) by John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine

Enter yet another more baffling attempt at tagging. This one is fascinating since it's been gussied up with a new name, and for some unknown reason been given the blessing of a bunch of brain-dead bloggers. This is because a few of the favorite sites that the bloggers love have tacitly approved of the so-called—get this—"folksonomy tags." Oh, a new term! This one is a laugh riot, since there is nothing new here except the new name: Folksonomy. I mean even in HTML there was the "metatag."

No, no. This is different because, uh well, uh, lemme think. It just is!

The current fave sites amongst the cognoscenti have adopted the idea of public tags, and a number of influential bloggers have jumped on board pumping up the concept and re-promoting that old rusty saw, "the semantic Web." The semantic Web is a dead duck, let me assure you.

... and so on.

Piggy Bank

Piggy Bank is an extension to the Firefox web browser that turns it into a “Semantic Web browser”, letting you make use of existing information on the Web in more useful and flexible ways.
Not tried it yet, but sound interesting. Based on so-called folksologies, as explained in accompanying blog, Stefano's Lynotype.


Identification in Big Science

Quite opposite to the friendly tagging we've been considering lately, Big Science projects are heading towards carefully engineered categorization and identification frameworks, aiming at interoperability and sharing of raw data. In Astronomy I've already mentioned here (and if not, I should have done so long ago) the International Virtual Observatory Alliance which has defined a standard format for identifiers.
An IVOA Identifier is a globally unique name for a resource. This name can be used to retrieve a unique description of the resource from an IVOA-compliant registry. This document describes the syntax for IVOA identifiers as well as how they are created. An IVOA identifier has two separable components that can appear in two equivalent formats: an XML-tagged form and a URI-compliant form. The syntax has been defined to encourage global-uniqueness naturally and to maximize the freedom of resource providers to control the character content of an identifier.
In Life Sciences domain, the Object Management Group proposes Life Science Identifiers Specification.
This specification addresses the need for a standardized naming schema for biological entities in the Life Sciences domains, the need for a service assigning unique identifiers complying with such naming schema, and the need for a resolving service that specifies how to retrieve the entities identified by such naming schema from repositories.
Interestingly, LSID uses urn schemes, but specifies resolving mechanisms.

Social Bookmarking Tools

Further commentary to my previous post, the link under the title points to a review of social bookmarking tools.

Because, to paraphrase a pop music lyric from a certain rock and roll band of yesterday, "the Web is old, the Web is new, the Web is all, the Web is you", it seems like we might have to face up to some of these stark realities [n1]. With the introduction of new social software applications such as blogs, wikis, newsfeeds, social networks, and bookmarking tools (the subject of this paper), the claim that Shelley Powers makes in a Burningbird blog entry [1] seems apposite: "This is the user's web now, which means it's my web and I can make the rules." Reinvention is revolution – it brings us always back to beginnings.

John Udell; delicious; language evolution

Click on the title and you'll hear and watch John Udell walk you through using "delicious". It's a lucid exposition of how tags and tagging contribute to language evolution. Tagging, as Bernard suggests in his previous univers immedia post here, appears to have great merit. John Udell's page ends with a thoughtful commentary on the relationship between tagging and Steven Pinker's writings on language.

Consider this: language is the longest-running open source project on this planet.


Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags

Clay Shirky has gathered in this page two presentations at recent conferences, making the case for unformal, bottom-up, folk-edited categorization of Web resources vs formal ontologies.
What I get from this very clear and intelligent paper is the notion that, in the open Web, efficient semantics are likely to emerge from free tagging, more efficient indeed than those built in pre-defined well-thought ontologies. It goes with the experience of my few past years of development of ontologies and constrained topic maps : very efficient for intranet and corporate environments, they will give poor results on the Web at large.