This week on the semantic web, we get seasonal with an article in which blogger Futuresoup puts semantic metadata on the top of his letter to Father Christmas. (We wonder a little about what the elves in the North pole will make of a Christmas list that references 'natural language processing.) The bloggers at The Guardian's developer blog also make their list, prioritising a 'content management system that doesn't suck'.

Elsewhere on the semantic web, Digital Toronto predicts that 2012 will be the year of the User Interface (something which our regular UX blogger, Richard Ridge, will empathise with, we're sure) and takes a look at an interesting new start-up that aims to find a different way of organising our information for us.

All I want for Christmas is Semantic Metadata (Future Soup)

Right now I use my brain to filter out this type of semantic metadata, but I can only remember so many names and associations. I’d much rather have a computer separate the who-what-where and other relational chunks from a news story, then organize them in a neat way so I can easily recall who I’ve been reading about and what things they’ve done. The reason for doing this is to make it easy to publish meaningful discoveries to investigative encyclopedia hubs like SourcewatchLittle Sis,CrocodylMuckety, (and of course Wikipedia), and thus bring the world closer to knowledge Nirvana. Developers have been thinking a lot about “natural language processing” and how to go beyond syntax and analyze semantic relationships. There are scads of projects underway.  However, the challenges run similar to other noble efforts on the web, where we find overlapping projects that don’t play nice with each other due to individual political interests that result in frustration for the average user.

December's "Carnival of journalism" round-up (The Guardian)

This month the Guardian Developer blog hosted the "Carnival of journalism", asking what journalists and programmers might exchange as presents during the festive season Content management systems loomed large in people's wishes. Daniel Bentley yearns for "an open source content management system that doesn't suck." Kathy Gill wants Santa to "put someone other than IT in charge of all CMS purchases.” A couple of people wanted more semantic mark-up, but Soupwatch identified one common problem in the semantic web space - "overlapping projects that don't play nice with each other due to individual political interests that result in frustration for the average user." Andrew Zaleski pleased me by pointing out that "the problems of large-scale information architecture for news sites are really hard problems." Don't I know it. His wish was for a system that would help editors deliver news websites that retained the clear information hierarchy associated with print products, rather than the often messy list views that we end up with today.

2012 – the year of the interface (Digital Tonto)

In many ways, the technology we carry around today is more impressive than what he had in Star Trek. After all, he and his crew always seemed to be tapping away at keyboards. And that, mark my words, will be the big thing for the next year. We are about to enter a technological lull, with very little happening of note in the way of new standards or breakaway functionality for a while. In truth, we haven’t really begun to utilize what we already have. The next wave of innovation will change that. If you want to understand where technology is going, you first need to understand what guides it.

Can This Start-up Eliminate Social Media Overload? (

Think of it as Siri for your social life. Using artificial intelligence, Bottlenose reads and interprets messages--so you don't have to.  Nova Spivack thinks it’s only a matter of time before the sheer volume of information coming at you via social media starts to break you down. If everyone's social “streams” become too noisy and unwieldy, then what exactly is the point? The very social media tools you embraced as a business to do things like manage your brand, respond to customer complaints, and solicit real-time feedback become more or less useless because there's simply too much information to sift through. “You don’t read anymore,” says Spivack, whose start-up career has mostly focused on the Semantic Web—or smarter ways to organize information on the Web. “No one does that.”