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Stephan, you're cheating ;)

No, not really, very good point you have there, although:

By cheating I mean drinkable is an adjective with a clear hint as to what type of object. "Carlsberg, drinkable" is a "boiled down sentence.
Using triple it would be something like "Paul, terms as drinkable, Carlsberg". Not pretty though, but I'm sure your English is better than mine so you'll find a better one!

Actually, being strictly philosophical, I'm leaning heavily on Plato's definition of knowledge - how objects relate to other objects - and that's what the triple delivers. It's simple, it's powerful, it's human _and_ machine readable.

And, it's not more work, instead of defining tags you define predicators - the objects are there already. You could even call the predicators tags :)

Ah, must add, when defining a predicator one must create the inverse too, as adding a triple means that you can use it both ways - inverse or not. "Paul, likes, Leffe" - "Leffe, is liked by, Paul".
And with that - as a triple is a standard - a machine can understand it as well and would yield a result for obscure queries like "List relatives of Paul that likes Heineken and that cycles on a Colnago while not being fit" :D

Mike Howard

Tuples are too Rigid - just as tags are too simplistic.

The problem is not Tags versus Tuples. A set of tags for a document is the 'right' thing to have. Confining the search to individual tag values is the problem.

Search is inherently un-informed in that we don't know what we are lookiing for and have inadequate descriptions of what it is we are looking for.

If the search is works with sets of tags - dynamically generated - with additional tags dynamically suggested, then you will get the effect of dynamically created tuples which are taylored for each instance of search.

To expand:

You start a search by typing a list of 'key words' or tag values.

Click the 'refine' or 'suggest' button. You then get a tag cloud with your values + tags which also occur with your values. Everything is color coded with 'selected' / 'not selected'.

You click some more and repeat to get more refinement of the tag tuple.

when satisfied, click the 'show' button which then displays descriptions of matching items.

Will it work? I don't know. Basic Information Theory says that the information content is inversely related to the probability of occurrence, so suggesting frequently occuring tag clusters has less information than infrequent pairings.

Frequent pairings might be good to go from 'general description' to 'current buzzword' or in reverse.

Just a thought


Mike, agree that use of multiple tags (we used that) makes human "browsing" easy, tinkering about while the exact "thought" is still elusive... and the more tags an object is tagged with the more precise the multiple filtering can be.

The thing is that the N-triple, being a standard, is directly machine readable thus allowing queries beyond the next object, and obviously it is really human readable too.

The "rigidity" delivered by the predicator describing the relationship between two singular objects is kind of required if you want precision.

That said, you can at all times create a predicator - "is tagged by" while having objects that are tags - then you for all practical purposes do have tags.

Reason why I want precision, is that it delivers knowledge directly - and precise as such which in an enterprise system (like thingamy) in many cases is required. Accounting comes to mind!

Andy Dale

This reminded me of some work I did a while back that explored not just adding the verb back in but also added identity into tagging. Who says "Andy Lives in France"? and why should I trust them (I don't). Once we add in identity we can add reputation and graph the subjectivity of assertions.

Check out i-tags at http://www.itags.net/index.php/Main_Page. I think that there is still improvement that can be made with it but I think it's a good base. A couple of key aspects being that both the tagging advocates and the microformat community seemed willing to embrace it and it is fully backwards compatible with rel tags so existing tagging infrastructure doesn't have to have a discontinuity but can evolve.

Andy Dale


Andy, interesting the itag idea!

Putting on my free-thinking hat, I would argue that you are using a twist to RDF N-triples, or part of it - as would I in our effort in the enterprise area (where one has better control over the object format).

Actually, using more than one triple may add that identity, author, license and even more to the soup so you could attain the same with triples methinks, albeit not elegantly all-in-one of course. But with the smaller triples, and use of more, more than identity and the above can be added to objects, all kinds of relationships and even spanning beyond the next object...

Ah, interesting area this - almost more philosophical than technical :)

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