Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Linked Data for News - An Update on IPTC and Semantic Web Technologies

At the IPTC's most recent face-to-face meeting in Dubai, much of the discussions revolved around Semantic Web technologies. The big news was that the IPTC voted to approve Draft 0.1 of rNews, but this wasn't the only matter discussed.

As I blogged about before, the news standards body has been looking at three areas and how they relate to news:

I chair the IPTC's SemWeb group. Here is the first in a short series of posts on where each of these areas stand and how you can get involved.

The Semantic Web
Semantic Web technologies extend today's web with machine readable information and links between data and services. The "Semantic Web" has also been termed "The Giant Global Graph" and "Web 3.0", amongst other names; there are several different theories about exactly what it is and exactly how to get there.

IPTC News Codes using Linked Data
The IPTC has explored the technical aspects of representing news codes using the technologies and conventions of Linked Data.
Link by manel
Linked Data is a set of best practices for publishing data using a subset of Semantic Web technologies. The IPTC News Codes are a set of metadata taxonomies designed for use by the news industry. The codes are already expressed in machine-readable XML, using IPTC's in G2 KnowledgeItem mechanism; it seemed a natural fit to explore expressing the news codes using the Linked Data principles.

Inspired by this IPTC work, MINDS (an association of European and US news agencies) and the IPTC have been mulling a joint project based on Linked Data for news. At the Dubai meeting, I reviewed the presentation I gave in February 2011 to MINDS about IPTC's Semantic Web and Linked Data work. There's a MINDS meeting in London the week of March 14th, so I expect we will learn more about any joint work.

The Chain by intherough
If you'd like to access the IPTC news codes in SKOS (not to mention XHTML and G2) then visit and find out more about their full content-negotiation glory.

Get Involved
You can get involved with the news codes work by contacting the IPTC; one easy way to do that is to join the news codes Yahoo! email list.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BBC TV and Video Futures

The boffins at the BBC have been doing a lot of interesting work with an eye to the future of tv and video. And they have been kind enough to share a lot of their work via their blog.
Boffin by ajc1
A Connected Future for TV
Many TVs are able to connect to the Internet, either directly or via a plethora of IP-connected boxes. However, for most viewers, the Net is just a different way to receive programming - an alternative to cable, satellite or over-the-air broadcast channels. In March 2011, Roly Keating, BBC Director of Archive Content, used his keynote speech at the Digital Television Group's Annual Summit to describe his vision for Connected TV.
televsion by waltjabsco
For Keating, Connected TV means more than just video on demand or using your TV to browse the Internet. He would like to enrich the experience of watching TV by giving viewers the ability to explore topics in greater depth, by providing just-in-time context, by creating links between TV and Internet programming and viewers. To me, this means bringing the power of hypermedia to visual content, just as the web has brought hypermedia to text in recent decades.

Frame Accurate Video in HTML5
Dirk-Willem van Gulik, BBC Chief Technical Architect, reviews how he and his team have worked with the open source community to create frame accurate video editing capabilities using web technologies, specifically HTML5. This means that using off-the-shelf browsers, it will be possible to work on video at professional levels of precision, on virtually any kind of web-connected device.

At this point, the capabilities are only in the bleeding-edge versions of (certain) browsers. And the frame accurate browser facilities are just foundational; the actual tools to perform full-fledged video editing can be built on top of this platform, but don't exist quite yet, it seems. But I think it is great that the BBC have really invested in building out missing capabilities in open source tools that will ultimately benefit not only themselves, but may other publishers, large and small.

BBC's Technology Vision
Spencer Piggott, Head of Technology Direction for BBC Technology, reveals the BBC Technology Strategy. In a comprehensive set of bullet points in the linked powerpoint, he covers the plans for such topics as high definition, content acquisition, development platforms, transcoding, internet distribution, rights management and search, amongst many others.
Vision sign by hamptonroadspartnership
It is great to get this kind of insight into the BBC Technology challenges and plans. It would seem that the BBC boffins are working on lots of interesting things, which is reassuring.
Reassuring by arenamontanus