Tag Archives: RSS

All the Latest SIOC Stuff

There’s been quite a few happenings in the “siocosphere” during the past month:

  1. Christoph Goern posted some details about how to enable SIOC output for a community site such as a planet aggregator; I hope to work on this myself WRT Planet PHP.
  2. Again, Christoph has detailed how to generate SIOC data from mailing list archives. Next, we could look at systems like MailMan and MHonArc.
  3. Alex Passant visited us in DERI last week, and together with Uldis Bojars he worked on both a SIOC browser and also a SIOC module for PEAR and PHP5. It was great to have Alex visiting, and he did amazing stuff during the few short days he was here… Thanks Alex!
  4. Christoph has also done some SIOC live query work, in parallel with #3, as well as describing how SIOC can be autodiscovered using RDFa.
  5. Fred Giasson has produced a detailed post on how he has made use of SIOC to connect stuff within the TalkDigger community… Nice one Fred – love this!
  6. More people are installing SIOC plugins on their blogs, including Christoph Goern, Harry Chen.

Wow! I am blown away by all this… I hope to contribute more myself now that I’m back.


SIOC (Was RSS Version 3 Specs Up for Review)

SIOC (Was RSS Version 3 Specs Up for Review)

As (one version of) its name implies (“Really Simple Syndication”), RSS is an excellent way to get your content out to the feed consuming public (people or systems). However, since it is so generic, it has its limitations. When you see an RSS feed, how do you know what it is? Did it come from a blog, a bulletin board, a news site, your aunt’s recipe site, a bookmarks list or a set of recently updated photos? Apart from an analysis of the “generator” string, the proposed RSS 3.0 doesn’t easily solve this existing problem. How is content related to other content? Have there been any replies or comments on this content? Is item 1 a reply to item 2?

For my part, I’m interested in content that comes from online community discussions: blogs, mailing lists, bulletin boards, newsgroups – something where one person makes a post on a ‘forum’ and someone replies to that post.

Researchers in our Semantic Web cluster at DERI, NUI Galway have been working on an open specification for describing communities using online discussion forums, leading to what Ryan King and others term “distributed conversations”.

The result is SIOC, standing for Semantically-Interconnected Online Communities.

The initial version of our SIOC specification has been drafted. It can be used in on its own (having a complete set of terms) or in conjunction with other RDF formats such as RSS 1.0 (and 1.1).

At the moment, online communities are islands that are not interlinked, and the SIOC ontology has been proposed to not only link these communities but to leverage data in ways that were previously unknown.

While there are many (useful) classes and properties in SIOC, it can essentially be boiled down to: Users create Posts that are contained in Forums that are hosted on Sites, e.g.

Site -> host_of -> Forum -> container_of -> Post -> has_creator -> User

Posts have reply Posts, and Forums can be parents of other Forums.

In terms of producing metadata, we’ve started with SIOC exporters for open-source discussion systems such as WordPress and Drupal / CivicSpace, and more are on the way. We’d also love to get input from creators of other community discussion systems. Thanks.

Should Technorati Index Bulletin Boards and How

It popped into my head a few days ago that Technorati could do something very similar to their blog search engine for bulletin boards. How?

  1. Bulletin boards can provide RSS feeds of their content, on a per-forum basis. I’ve installed this functionality for phpBB and vBulletin, and there’s not that much to it.
  2. Bulletin board software usually has BBCode, or quick markup for inserting HTML into a discussion post. You then just have to add a BBCode markup item for “tags”.

For example,


would get translated to:

Tag: <a target=_blank href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/{param}">{param}</a>

for use by Technorati (as long as the HTML is exported in the description / content chunk).

Once one set of bulletin board developers start implementing this and seeing the search benefits, you can bet the rest would cop on pretty quickly.

Of course, SIOC can also be used to express information about a bulletin board post more completely than RSS, and this tag information could form part of that.