Some of the DERI people (and others) involved in LATC have launched schema.rdfs.org to counter the lack of rdfs in schema.org – the Microsoft/Google/Yahoo attempt to kickstart some RDFa publishing so their search engines can try and improve result relevancy. Some of the items in schema.org are quite simple, but thats probably a good thing : a large term set or number of properties is going to look daunting to anyone interested or someone starting out for the first time – and indeed this is the reason cited that it is not RDF (its microdata). And while I agree with Michael Bergman that it is more than likely another step towards structured/linked/common/open data, adopters urgently need a combination of
- Tools (or better still no tools, just an unobtrusive natural way to author microdata or rdfa) and
- a Reason to do it – payback
- Support in search UIs to specify vocabulary items
I’d like a wordpress plugin for instance, but then I’d need to host an instance myself or find a hoster that allows plugins because wordpress.com doesnt allow it. I’d also like to think that if I placed some RDFa in my blog that it would get higher a ranking in Search results (it should) but this blog is pretty specialised anyway and its not commercially oriented so Im happy enough with keyword based results anyway.
So, I’m not going to be doing it too soon, and thats the problem really. Or is it ? This post isn’t data really, but it does have links and it does talk about concepts, people, technology problems. If I could mark them up with tags and attributes that define what I am talking about then it would mean that I could tell those search engines and crawlers what I am talking about rather than hoping they can work it out from the title, the links I have chosen, then feedback comments and so on. Then people looking for these particular topics could find or stumble upon this post more easily. So, while there is some data here, arguably I don’t see it that way, and even if I think there might be a good Reason to do it, it’s too hard without the Tools
So I wonder finally, if I was to mark up one of these people mentioned in this post with name,address, affiliation,organisation and so on, would the search engine UIs allow me to use this vocabulary directly – I want to find articles about DERI say, would the search drop down prompt me with
itemprop="EducationalOrganization" – so that I’d then only get results that have been marked up with this microdata property and not with things that are about the Deri vineyard in wales, punto deri, courtney deri and so on ?
Sindice kinda does this, couldn’t the Goog do it too ??? Or indicate which results are microdata’d, or allow a keyword predicate (like site: say), or allow the results to be filtered (like Search Tools in the left column). The point for me is that schema.org is only half or less than half the story – the search engines need to Support the initiative by making it available at query time, and to allow their results to manipulated in terms of microdata/rdfs too. Then I might be more tempted to markup my posts in microdata,rdfs,microformat or whatever, and I might create some extensions to the schemas and contribute a bit more, and my post might get more traffic in the long tail, that traffic would be more valuable, my ad revenue might go up (if I had ads for myself !), and the ECB might drop their interest rates. Well, maybe not, but they’re not listening to anythine else, perhaps some structured data might persuade them. It is the future after all.