Archive for September, 2005

Using Wikipedia and the Yahoo API to give structure to flat lists

September 2nd, 2005  |  Published in metadata

Some of my recent (and final) work at the BBC has involved breathing life into old rolodex-style flat databases of content. With my colleague Tom Coates, I’ve been puzzling over how to take a list of text strings like this:

"AGNEW, Spiro", "ATTLEE, Clement", "BARBER, Anthony", "BEVAN, Aneurin", "BLAIR, Tony", "CALLAGHAN, James", "CHAMBERLAIN, Neville", "CHURCHILL, Winston", "COULTHARD, David", "DYALL, Valentine", "EDEN, Anthony", "FOOT, Michael", "GAITSKELL, Hugh", "HAGUE, William", "HEATH, Edward", "HESELTINE, Michael", "JENKINS, Roy", "KINNOCK, Neil", "MACLEOD, Iain", "MACMILLAN, Harold", "MARSHALL, David", "MILLIGAN, Spike", "NIXON, Richard", "REDWOOD, John", "THATCHER, Margaret", "WILSON, Harold"

and turn it into a network of directed links like this. Hopefully anyone who has a passing knowledge of the history of the British government will agree that it’s a convincing little map, easily usable as a basis for navigation around the concepts attached to the text strings

We found a pretty neat automated solution, entirely based on public internet resources, that requires no input at our end apart from the text strings above.

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