Reactions to Guardian Linked Data and "Search at The Guardian"

 by Martin Belam, 20 October 2010

Some bits and piece from around the web about a couple of things I've been involved with at The Guardian this week - the inclusion of MusicBrainz IDs and ISBN numbers in our content API, and the "Search at The Guardian" event I helped run on Monday.

Reactions to 'Linked Data' in the Guardian API

As far as the 'Linked Data' release goes, Yves Raimond announced it on the w3c-public-lod data list, and Robert Kaye blogged it for the MusicBrainz community:

"I'm really stoked that MusicBrainz IDs are reaching beyond the music world. If we reached mainstream journalism today, where are we going tomorrow?"

It was also listed as one of the things that made Christian Heilmann happy that morning, and the Adactumblr pulled out a couple of choice quotes from Daithi's blog post:

"We have (maybe too) cautiously dipped our toes into the Linked Data and Semantic Web world, but we also haven't found the water to be icy cold."

There has been a bit of a debate started about what we did and how we went about it. Ultan O'Carroll seems to be arguing that we should have gone down the full SPARQL/triple-store/RDF route. As I pointed out when replying to Tom Coates' recent statement that 'death to the semantic web', I'm entirely agnostic about formats. For me what is important is that we make our data persistent and predictable.

Reactions to "Search at The Guardian"

The reception of our event seems to have been generally very positive. On the London Enterprise Search meet-up group it has been described as 'very interesting, and surprisingly frank', and that it was 'good to see an organisation being prepared to open up and share some of their insights as well as demonstrate their skills'.

Charlie Hull has blogged about the event, saying:

"What we're seeing here is a change in how search technology is used especially by forward-looking organisations - from being a bolt-on to an existing website or application, search is now the platform for new developments."

Mercedes Bunz has also written a blog post, challenging journalists to understand the way that search platforms are transforming how people experience knowledge. She says:

"These days, we journalists find ourselves in a funny situation. Google is partly doing our job - giving people the current information they are looking for, and partly we do our job better with Google. No one would deny by now that 'to google something' is a basic part of our work. Can we think of 'search' as the new reading, a fundamental way to get knowledge? It is about high time that journalists, or basically all the people that deal with content get their head around what's happening here."

She has obviously spent her time reporting on technology well, as she has spotted the true way to a developer's heart:

"One thing is sure, if you are a journalist, you better buy some chocolate to make friends with your local IT person. Or buy pizza, and there is a 85% chance that this will be the start of a new great friendship."


I don't know about you but im one it guy that would talk a nice pint over pizza or chocolate any day! The point however remains valid search is the technology our new world is built around. Journalists have always used search in some fashion is just used to involve a lot more work and phone calls!

I made some notes for colleagues where I work, & given the responses to the evening, thought I'd add -

Great evening, first Search meetup I've made it to. Are presentations likely to be put online?

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