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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A quick test of SemanticProxy: what, did you expect it to be perfect?

You can see Thomson-Reuters' newest semantic web leg-up here: SemanticProxy. The idea is great, it really seems to take OpenCalais' proposition further and offer a helping hand in building all sorts of RDF-centred applications. However a word of caution is advised: you'll probably get some pretty funny results so they need to be taken in the right spirit; they're a great first step but not perfect.
Take this page for example: Shakespeare’s first theatre uncovered. Paste the URL into the box on the demo page. If you look at the entities SemanticProxy identifies, some are impressively accurate. For example, it spots Jack Lohman, Jeff Kelly and Willian Shakespeare as people; identifies currency, facilities and companies reasonably well; finds phone numbers etc.
On the down side, quirks include that it considers the Museum of London a "facility" not a company or organisation; designates Chelsea Old Church (mentioned only in the navigation) both a person and organisation; thinks Taryn Nixon is the director of Tower Theater Company (though the text says "Taryn Nixon, Director of Museum of London Archaeology"); and calls Shakespeare a Hackney planning officer!
SematicProxy looks very impressive, still, but this quick test does at least illustrate what a fiendish problem these guys are trying to tackle. The team point out that it's a beta: "No guarantees, no promises", they say, and I hope they stick at it and that I get to play with it properly some time soon!

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