Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt

Metadata, the quick and easy way

One of the biggest problems with FOAF is that it's difficult for people to use quickly and easily. Even with the FOAF-A-Matic or other similar tools, designed to make creation of RDF data simpler, take a concentrated amount of time to use to create good information.

Lately, I'd been playing with the menow schema that Joel and a couple other people interested in FOAF came up with. The basic idea behind it is to be able to describe yourself at the moment - an instantaneous description of what you're doing. This fits in along with other projects that I've worked on, such as Dashboard, where it tells you more about what you're doing on the computer at the moment. For example, a menowdocument could describe the fact that I'm out driving with Jess, with a goal GPS destination: something that FOAF typically doesn't do.

The MeNowDocument could be the first step towards solving Neil's Where was Social Networking? issue - how to connect the people better. The first step towards connecting is getting the information in a way that agents can understand it - and if both agents understand "late night, 10pm", then you're on your way.

Tired of all the problems related to creating these things by hand, I wrote two bots, both connected to the same backend for storage information. One bot hangs out on IRC - in #pa, on The other is on AIM: menowbot.

These two bots aren't all that complex - in fact, the next step will be to add a bit more complexity, in creating the ability to alias different personalities together. The code for the bots is available at . However, what they do do is set up an easy way to add information to a database without having to think about it much. It's not completely simple yet - and it's not particularly complete, cause you can add any predicate you want. However, for those people who just want something to hang onto their data for them as a reminder to others - something perfect for the quick "hm, remember this" note.

A quick transcript to demonstrate:

<crschmidt> menow, menow?
<menow> crschmidt : menow:mood = tired at 2004-06-01 19:17:33 menow:browsing = at 2004-06-01 19:17:33
< crschmidt> menow, forget browsing
<crschmidt> menow, menow?
<menow> crschmidt : menow:mood = tired at 2004-06-01 19:17:33
<crschmidt> menow, add writing dc:description post about the bot
<crschmidt> menow, menow?
<menow> crschmidt : menow:writing = dc:description post about the bot at 2004-06-01 20:50:35 menow:mood = tired at 2004-06-01 19:17:33

Of course, no bot like this would be complete without the ability to browse other people:

<crschmidt> menow, crschmidt now?
<menow> crschmidt : menow:writing = dc:description post about the bot at 2004-06-01 20:50:35 menow:mood = tired at 2004-06-01 19:17:33

Lots of interesting uses, and I plan to keep developing it, but I believe in "release early, release often." So, here's version 0.1.

foaf:nick=menow rdf:resource=irc://

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