Archive for the ‘ Inspiration ’ Category

Similar site using Google Maps API

It just occurred to me that the presentation I explained in my previous post can be seen in another news aggregation site. News Facet uses the Google Maps API and meta-data obtained by OpenCalais to display stories by overlapping categories on a world map. News Facet’s uses color-coded transparencies for its story locations more for aesthetic rather than the functional reasons I outlined as a possibility for Parallactic Drift.

News Facet’s project also differs from mine since the developers of the site opted to display the most recent stories, only going back as far as 30 hours. With Parallactic Drift, I want to bring focus to even older stories, since access those stories can only grow over time and a well-constructed and well-presented XML framework that groups these stories by different relevance factors will promote their accessibility to online users.

Still, News Facet has a sharp and organized design that takes advantage of many different free APIs available online. I encourage anybody who wants a better idea of what I want this project to look like to check out


Useful site for automated semantic tagging

My professor Vin Crosbie, who runs the site Digital Deliverance, turned me onto this open-source semantic solutions by the good people at OpenCalais. OpenCalais’s collaborators have created several tools, from a simple standalone API to tagging applications for Drupal and WordPress. This service reads textual and structural information from three different types of files (txt, HTML, and XML), renders meta-information on those files and offers possible topics based on keyword matches from OpenCalais’s massive database.

I’m considering OpenCalais as a sorting tool for Parallactic Drift. Believe me, hard coding keywords and conditionals to match specific topics is difficult, but it allows me to create a script that sorts news items down to specific events. While I would lose this level of specificity with OpenCalais, the API seems to have evolved from its initial functions to include more advanced vector calculations for reading word placement within text. The API even diagrams sentences’ grammatical structure to figure out what a sentence says! Just type a word into their demo viewer. Continue reading

Semantic news aggregation before it was cool

I’ve been looking for this site for months now. We Feel Fine is a part-art design, part-sociological, part-semantic web experiment by visual artist/developer Jonathan Harris and computational scientist Sep Kamvar.

We Feel scours the ‘net and in seconds provides the most-used terms, phrases and sentences that start with the words “I feel.” The different interactive ways they use to explore this simple concept and present the data are downright beautiful.

Oh and look mah, no Flash! Instead of Flash, the site employs database-querying PHPs in a custom-made applet. The database is instantly populated with information that link to the original source. Harris uses a similar applet in another project he made for DayLife called Universe: Revealing our Modern Mythology.  This type of development allows for much more semantically labeled and organized information to than Flash tools. Kamvar himself has worked in the field of retrieving information from poorly meta-labeled information, so this practice makes sense to both developers. Continue reading