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Re: [Myexperiment-discuss] Google maps/mashups article

From: Leslie Carr
Subject: Re: [Myexperiment-discuss] Google maps/mashups article
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 09:10:34 +0100

Excuse me for coming out of lurking mode.

I wonder if I can win people to the point of view that a semantic mashup isn't a mashup at all even if it looks like one and it apparently achieves the same thing.

Why did the word 'mash' come to be used in this context? Obviously it is because of a culinary analogy. What is mashing? It is breaking down an object so that its boundaries are no longer preserved (think mashed potatoes, obviously). My point is that the process of "mashing" is a process of decomposition, of extracting data from pages or portals or silos and reinterpreting it in an intermediate state that can be built up again into a new "mashed up" application. If that process of deconstruction (in the article mentioned below it was data mining street addresses from web pages) is not necessary, then what we have is the application of a function to some data. Just an 'up' without the 'mash'. In that sense, semantic mashups should be a lot easier - in fact there shouldn't be any mashing going on, only 'construction' or 'application'. So, semantic mashups use 'premashed data' (see, but 'premashed data' is just 'data' and a mashup just becomes an application.

Mashups are only impressive because it has been so difficult to do the mashing - having watched the development of the AKT system that won the 2003 Semantic Web Challenge [http://], then I know that the challenge was to get hold of the data (people, projects, funding, places, publications). That took a LOT of sweat and a LOT of data mining.

So perhaps the semantic web should both make mashups easier and render the concept out of date? Am I right, wrong or simply making a null point? I'd like to know so that I can change the slides in my current set of talks!
Les Carr

On 16 Jul 2007, at 21:12, Carole Goble wrote:


semantic mashups, ie smash-ups


"The annotations weren't created by Google, nor by some official mapping
agency. Instead, they are the products of a volunteer army of amateur
cartographers. "It didn't take sophisticated software," Hanke says. "What it took was a substrate - the satellite imagery of Earth - in an accessible form and a simple authoring language for people to create and share stuff. Once that software existed, the urge to describe and annotate just took
"Today, the number of mashed-up Google Maps exceeds 50,000."

"Once you express location in human terms, you get multiple places with the
same name, or political issues over where boundaries are, or local
differences," says David Weinberger. "As soon as you leave the latitude/ longitude substrate, you get lost in the ambiguous jumble of meaning. It's
as close to Babel as we get."
"In the midst of all this cacophony, Google is discovering that a smart,
effective search engine is once again the key."

+1 for the last comment :-)


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