Tom Tague on Open Calais 4
The recent release of Open Calais v4 offers excting new possibilities by making a great contribution to Linked Data efforts.
Previous releases of Thomson Reuter’s Open Calais web service already produced promising results by extracting named entities, facts and events from user submitted contet – especially news articles. Now these extracted concepts come with an URI and are linked into the LOD cloud – specifically to DBpedia, Freebase, Musicbrainz, CIA world fact book and others.
On this occasion Tom Tague, vice president of the Calais creators ClearForest, answered questions the Semantic Web Company had about the goals of Open Calais.
The latest release of Open Calais produces metadata conforming to linked data principles. You provide this great service free to everyone via your web service.
What led to that decision, which benefits are there for Thomson Reuters?
Thomson Reuters has the largest trusted content sources in the world – but we don’t have all the content in the world. We believe that the world is going to want to integrate highly managed and trustworthy content assets such as those provided by Thomson Reuters with the low latency, highly diverse content exploding on the web. Fundamentally what we’re trying to achieve is nearly effortless interoperability of content between any two partners – Calais enables this by extracting the semantic metadata buried in your content but then takes it a step further. By linking those semantic elements to the Linked Data cloud we are setting the stage for the dramatic enhancement of any content source – and we hope that many will choose Thomson Reuters as one of the methods for enhancing that content.
It seems with Open Calais you use a hybrid business model, which integrates end users in a form of enterprise collaboration into value creation.
Do you think such a business model is viable during the long run and what are your experience so far?
As of right now Calais isn’t truly a “Business”. It’s a strategic initiative that’s setting at least a piece of the stage for the Linked Content Economy. Our goal is to understand how this new content economy is going to involve and to make certain that we have a leadership position as it moves from a concept to reality.
Apart from the thousands of users submitting content to Open Calais, there is also a community of developers making their own applications around your core app. How important are the social dynamics of the Open Source community for the success of Open Calais?
Extraordinarily important. Calais is a web service – which means it’s relevant to about 0.0001% of the population. We are absolutely reliant on the creativity, energy and domain expertise of our developer community to translate Calais from a technology to an end-user relevant capability. And – as a user-driven project we also rely on our developers and users to give us feedback on what they like, what they don’t and where they think we should head.
What are your plans regarding to offering your service in German?
We hope to get there in 2009. We’ve released basic French and are gearing up for additional languages in the coming year.
Thank you, Tom, for your answers! We look forward to more applications like Semantic Proxy and Linked Facts that demonstrate the great protential of the Calais engine.