The Clearinghouse of Meaning


It may sound like the title of an unwritten Vonnegut novel, but the "clearinghouse of meaning" is what Reuters' wants its new semantic web offering, Calais, to be, says The Economist.

The idea is that any website can send a jumble of text and code through Calais and receive back a list of "entities" that the system has extracted--mostly people, places and companies--and, even more importantly, their relationships. It will, for instance, be able recognise a pharmaceutical company's name and, on its own initiative, cross-reference that against data on clinical trials for new drugs that are held in government databases. Alternatively, it can chew up a thousand blogs and expose trends that not even the bloggers themselves were aware of.

For companies with lots of data in diverse formats, it's worth keeping an eye on the slowly-maturing semantic web.


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