My first week with Thinglink

July 23rd, 2006  |  Published in metadata

The first Thinglink technical workshop took place in Amsterdam this month. Ulla-Maaria Mutanen and I spent an incredibly productive week at the Mediamatic offices thrashing out ideas that will form a Thinglink technical whitepaper over the next few months.

I’d like to highlight two things in particular that came out of this activity.

Read the rest of this entry » isn’t just for humans

April 26th, 2006  |  Published in metadata

While I’m talking BBC, here’s a story from a little while ago. I’m a big fan of, and I’ve been using it for a few years. Because I used to play my MP3s on a headless linux box in my flat, I wrote a commandline python mp3 player that could ping My profile is a pretty good picture of my listening habits.

At BBC Radio, the radio stations are moving steadily from traditional analogue studios to fully digital systems that play nearly all their music from hard disk. As a member of the Architecture Team there, I had access to experimental data feeds from these systems. One day at work I asked myself a question: what happens when you plug behavioural data generated by an automatic process into social software designed for humans?

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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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