(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
metadata, news, opencalais, semantic news


Reuters Wants To Add Value To Anyone's News Stories

from the watch-this-space dept

While the Associated Press has talked a lot about adapting to a new internet-centric world, there's still very little evidence that it's doing anything different. It's still trying to act like a gatekeeper rather than an enabler. However, it appears that Reuters is actually experimenting with something interesting. It has a new project, called OpenCalais, designed to help any information provider extract useful metadata from written content. In other words, it's an automated system that you can run an article or a blog post through, and it will return useful data in a structured manner. For example, if you wrote an article about Google's earning report, it would note that the article was about Google, that it had to do with an earnings report, and maybe connect some important other points. The idea, then, is that the more useful semantic data that's there, the more useful things that can be done on top of it. For those who believe that better use of semantic data is the key opportunity for newspapers to jump to the internet age, this could represent a very big deal. Of course, there's a very big "if" in that statement. The service actually needs to work well and be useful. It also needs to attract users. There's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem here, as the really useful apps built on top of that data won't come unless the data itself is available. Having Reuters behind the project suggests a strong initial base of content, but it remains to be seen how much adoption can actually be driven through this system. Some of it may depend on how much in the way of resources Reuters has put behind this project to jumpstart it (and whether that commitment continues after Reuter's acquisition by Thomson Financial closes). Either way, it's an experiment worth following, and one a lot more interesting than simply demanding that people pay more money.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Lisa Creech Bledsoe, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 7:28am

    There are possibilities here...

    Too soon to know how valuable this might be, but I can see running articles through it to determine page strength, which can be a tool to help you get better at writing for social media and seo.

    A good sign to see it coming from a big boy like Reuters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Tom, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:11am

    Rueters the Platform

    Well, if the data is too expensive, it will go nowhere. BUT, I can see where if Rueters becomes the platform, then the "crowd" can take over with mashups that add much more value as new relationships are built that add value. It will be much easier to do that with "structured" data from an article rather than just the article itself. Of course all of this depends on how well the metadata is extracted. Big question is how did Google miss this, it seems like somehting they would come up with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    MrBobDobalina, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:14am

    First results from Clearforest acquisition

    I was surprised when Reuters acquired text analysis company Clearforest in early 2007, but it's starting to make sense. I can't be sure that OpenCalais is powered by ClearForest's technology, but it's an obvious fit. I've worked with Clearforest and other text extraction/analytic tools in the past and they definitely have their shortcomings, but they are also enormously helpful in processing large quantities of unstructured data (like news feeds). The downsides to these technologies have always been their cost and required time to configure, both of which are addressed by having a central content deliverer manage the process. I expect we'll see some very cool apps take advantage of this data within only a few months.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    free press, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 12:14pm

    Yahoo similar service

    There is a similar service called yahoo term extraction webservice. We use that service to categorize free press release posted to our website. For more information about term extraction service visit yahoo term extraction service.

    "The Term Extraction Web Service provides a list of significant words or phrases extracted from a larger content. It is one of the technologies used in Y!Q. ..."

    Accuracy and relevance of yahoo service is not very satisfactory. We would like to experiment with this new reuters service if it is free. Right now we can not afford any paid services because basically we offer free press release distribution service (like prweb.com)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Tom Tague, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 6:22am

    Re: Yahoo similar service

    free press-

    Jump in and start experimenting. Yes, it's 100% free. Yes, it's going to stay that way.

    While the Yahoo service is interesting - these are really two entirely different classes of tools. With Calais you'll get dozens of entities, facts and events extracted from an article vs. a few small snippets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    webhosting-10.com, Oct 19th, 2008 @ 5:18am

    Need to improve their comments feature

    Reuters,if they really wanna add some serious value to their services and encourage continous and effective source of traffic,then they need to work on their comments feature,this will probably add value and enhance interactiveness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Jonh, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 4:20pm

    very interesting

    aasdasd asdasda asdasd google

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Breast Enlargement, Dec 8th, 2008 @ 4:19pm


    We Review the Top Breast Enhancing Pills & tell you what really works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Breast Pills, Dec 19th, 2008 @ 10:08pm


    We Review the Top Breast Enhancing Pills & tell you what really works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Marcus, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 5:11am

    Reuters Wants To Add

    Thanks for sharing your discussion, very interesting to us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.