Making Sense of the News with Semantic Technology

Chris Lamb has written an article discussing how semantic web technology is helping with the problem of too much news, not enough meaning. Lamb writes, “News volume has moved from infoscarcity to infobesity. For the last hundred years, news in print was delivered in a container, called a newspaper, periodically, typically every twenty-four hours. The container constrained the product. The biggest constraints of the old paradigm were periodic delivery and limitations of column inches. Now information continually bursts through our Google Readers, our cell phones, our tablets, display screens in elevators and grocery stores. Do we really need to read all 88,731 articles on the Bernie Madoff trial? Probably not. And that's the dilemma for news organizations. In the old metaphor, column-inches was the constraint. In the new metaphor, reader attention span becomes the constraint.”

Lamb continues, “When reader attention span becomes the constraint, relevancy becomes the coin of the realm. Applications surfacing relevant content and filtering flotsam drive competitive advantage. The dilemma is that relevant is in the mind of the beholder. Emerging application - news readers such as Flipboard, Pulse and Feedly - are struggling to deliver relevancy. One proxy is to use a reader's social graph to curate stories. Another is user profiles and preferences.”

He goes on, “These current approaches are doomed. With respect to social graph curation, people have different roles at during different times. On the weekend, a reader might be interested in arts, entertainment and sports news based on a friends and family. During the week, this same person may be interested in business news based on recommendations from trading partners in the capital markets. How do readers seamlessly reconcile this?”

Read more to find out how semantic technologies can help reconcile these issues.

Image: Courtesy Flickr/ grjenkin