OK there are several ways I could frame this post, but obviously one is that here is another opportunity for Europeana to channel its content.
So what is Zemanta? Well TechCrunch just wrote about the launch of its public API, and from what they say Zemanta is looks to be amongst a burgeoning sector of semantic enhancement tools - another with an API announcement this week was uClassify, and you can also look to OpenCalais, Hakia, AdaptiveBlue's BlueOrganizer and others including Yahoo!. These are tools that take in (text) content, analyise it, and identify entities within or characteristics of that text. These might be embedded into the text, or returned as recommendations, classifications, or links to related material. Sometimes we're talking about a machine-facing service, sometimes an end-user one e.g. the BlueOrganizer plugin. With Hakia and Yahoo!, these are services built on the power of their search engines. Zemanta sounds like it's squarely in this area, digesting content and returning links, images, keywords etc. from a database including (of course) Wikipedia, Amazon and Flickr. Looks like it's a plugin too.
uClassify is a little different - it learns to classify your text as you train it. I'm characterising it as a semantic enhancement technology but that may not be right in a strict sense. In any case, it will "enrich" the content you submit by putting it into categories you've assigned. That said, when I used oFaust, one of the apps built on top of its API, it took my snippet of Moby Dick and told me it was like Edgar Allen Poe, but needed work! Hmm. Whether that was down to the classifier or the training, though, I don't know.
So to go back to how Zemanta might fit in with Europeana, it's basically that we could work with them to digest our content and create relevant links to Europeana's vast (hopefully) and authoritative collection of cultural heritage content: artefacts, media, documents, people, events, and places. This is where I expect it helps to be big and standardised, as it should be easier for companies like Zemanta to work with one provider of cultural heritage content than with thousands of museums, libraries and archives.
To read more about Europeana (formerly EDL) check out my earlier posts: Europeana and EDL
- 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