New job, new planets, blog moved.

June 1, 2006 on 9:48 pm | In wikicompany, rijksmuseum, library2.0 | 4 Comments

I’m truly excited to start working for the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands soon.

I will have the opportunity to work with some of the most beautiful art collections in the world. My role will be to help manage the existing catalog system and provide ideas and software to improve the new catalog system.

It will be both an honour and a challenge to help improve the access to the huge Dutch art legacy of the “Gouden Eeuw” and also from earlier and later periods. This crossroad of great art and cutting edge information technology is such an interesting combination. May we live in interesting times.

Besides my work on improving Wikicompany, I’ll also start to write about my ideas and actions on Library2.0 concepts. Not all of that will be immediately relevant to my work, eg. text-to-speech, and content-based image retrieval, but it will help to think outside of the box when designing information systems.

To help myself and others to keep up with all the ideas floating around about web information systems, I’ve expanded the planetarium with some more domain specific news streams:

  • Free Software
  • Semantic Web (todo)
  • Library2.0
  • Art Museum

Important: The wikicompany blog is now hosted onsite. New RSS feed link here.
I would have preferred to use Mediawiki syntax as the blog interface, but currently MW blogging isn’t quite ready for that. However blogging using MW isn’t that far away I suspect. Brion is working on something.


May 16, 2006 on 2:56 pm | In sparql, semweb, wikicompany, mediawiki | No Comments

PS: I'm currently looking for interesting work in the semweb/web service/php/perl/linux/mediawiki field. So if any employer out there is interested, I can send my resume. I currently live in the Netherlands, but would be willing to relocate if I really like the job/location context. My ideal would be NZ ;-) , I much enjoyed my 2 month adventure there a couple of years ago. Email: [email protected]

I've now managed to setup the SPARQL powered REST interface for Wikicompany.


Booleans as in: "show biotech or healthcare companies operating in the US and Europe" are not correctly parsed yet:

Multi-value filters are also not working correctly yet (I suspect the ARC SPARQL parser does not correctly handle '&&' in filters). I emailed the author of ARC about this, (but perhaps I'll be able to fix this myself):

Relations (such as customers, competitors etc.) will soon also be findable using the REST interface. Sorting is also not fully implemented yet.
Now I need to setup a nice form interface for querying Wikicompany (and perhaps other relevant RDF repo's also!).

I like the current design of the REST interface, its simple and clean and allows for expressive queries (without any SPARQL knowledge).

I see the semantical tags and relations as the first noise filter., at some point in the future the results from these queries should also be able to be filtered based on full-text search.

An additional smart method would be to do optionally do a full-text search for each unkown semantical tag.

MediaWiki is hot

May 14, 2006 on 2:25 am | In wikicompany, trends, wiki | No Comments

I've started implementing the second part of the REST interface for Wikicompany. When done, more complex semantic tag queries can be answered.


The returned output will be a list of URLs in RSS/Atom/JSON/RDF format, pointing to the company profile.

Comedy: making reality acceptable

May 11, 2006 on 12:29 am | In wikicompany, media, features, spider | No Comments

There's some great stand-up comedy being streamed onto the web by Cringe Humor NYC. Grab streamtuner and streamripper and have a laugh.

I wish streamtuner could also handle video, podcasts, skypecasts, and other 'live' streams from various sites, really decoupling the content from the web/RSS site interface with a simple and consistent browse/search/bookmark interface.

For Wikicompany I've been hacking at an intelligence-augmented web crawler which will create company profiles from URLs. Its pretty useful already.

The spider collects data from various sources, parses and mangles the data (including geocoding, auto tagging, logo handling) and creates a link for the Wikicompany publish form. From the publish form any manual changes can be made, before including the profile in Wikicompany. Parsing an existing profile on Wikicompany back to the form is on the todo list.

The spider is not perfect yet, but the results are very promising. I'm currently testing the algorithms on about 4000 company domains (mainly biotech companies).

I want to automate as much work as possible, but some things only a human can (currently) do. Although some good NLP software might be able to automate even more things. Some statistical approaches, once more correct context data is known, could also be interesting.

I also wrote a tool which can generate a company URL list from a list of company names, which really helps to collect large lists company URLs from various sources on the web.

Here's a small list of profiles which were gathered completely automatic:


Marketing 0.5

April 22, 2006 on 10:12 pm | In wikicompany, marketing, business, semanticweb | No Comments

The semantical tag interface is improving, see eg. the list of companies active in germany.

In other news: Today I received a free Google Adwords coupon for 50 Euro. It will be interesting to play with this subtle, but well designed, ad campaign tool. Perhaps it will even benefit the project in some way.

I made some Wikicompany marketing material for the occasion. Click on the globe to promote your business via Wikicompany.

On the web

Semantic tagging coming along

April 17, 2006 on 4:08 pm | In semweb, wikicompany, semanticweb, usability, tagging, rss | No Comments

Part of the transition from categories to semantic tags is now done on Wikicompany.

See the tags on these examples: Full Sail Brewing, VNU, Atos Origin

The tag browsing interface is still primitive, but because of the REST web service, a RSS feed with detailed info is available for each company, so many more details can be presented (logo, other tags, phone numbers, subsidiaries, etc).

Even mediawiki extensions can be used within the tag interface, as can be seen in the examples. This really shows the power of a good wiki platform, instead of a traditional CMS.

Semantic tagging todo's:

  • A commandline tool to extract the semantic relations from every article and dump these into the SMW tables.
  • The new company input form should register semantic annotations automatically.
  • A more usable interface for browsing tags, with dynamic filters
    • Better usability when searching and browsing tag-sets. Something like the ShopWiki page styles seems nice.
    • Move to REST URLs and services for the tag browse interface
    • Uniform multi-word tag input / output (not often needed, but still important)
    • A "related tags" function (based on the graph analyis of tags)
    • Flickr and delicious tag integration ("show the 5 most interesting pictures and links belonging to this set of tags"). Open web services are simply delicious.
    • Google maps rendering of companies per tag-set? I'm actually thinking to redo some of the geo interfaces on Wikicompany. Eg. provide a full-screen browse interface, in addition to the normal gmap view.

Another project I'm working on is a web crawler for creating company profiles from just a URL. Not an easy task, but very interesting work. Since the amount of user contributions is currently very low, this may provide a way to get many more free company profiles.

Consumer, Inc.

April 1, 2006 on 3:56 am | In wikicompany, business, aprilfoolsday | No Comments

Featured company

Consumer, Inc. (Euronext: CONS) is a leading player in the world of marketing and advertising, and has operations all over the world. The name gets its origin from an organism which ingests other organisms or food particles.

Consumer ranks 2nd in Europe and 3rd in the world based on tier 1 capital, with on average USD 200 in debt, in more than 280 countries, a staff of about 0.3 full-time equivalents and total assets of USD -0.0021 billion.

In the US Consumer operates under the name Buyers. Their current slogan is Merry Christmas.


  • US consumer spending rises 0.1 percent in February - People's Daily Online
  • Drop in consumer confidence found - Financial Times
  • Orchestrating Your Consumer-Directed Health Plan - Forbes
  • TSMC: Consumer market, 90-nm driving foundry sales -
  • Consumer Electronics Ownership Up, Says CEA - TMCnet
  • US consumer sentiment up in March - Monsters and
  • 2006 Consumer Broadband Survey of 1,200 US Households Showing the … - TMCnet
  • US consumer spending rises 0.1% in Feb. - MarketWatch
  • Italy household goods consumer finance sector making losses - CR … - Forbes
  • Dr Behl is member of consumer disputes redressal forum - Chandigarh Newsline

Webforms, semantic tagging, REST API

March 16, 2006 on 10:53 pm | In semweb, wikicompany, features, tagging, rest | No Comments

I’ve been busy with several Wikicompany developments.

There is now an “add a company profile” web form. The old-way to create a new article was a bit too complex for most users. So, if you have a company profile to share, please do so. There are still some usability issues (image uploads, AJAX suggests for tag inputs) which I need to fix.

I’ve for some time been pondering the use of tags instead of categories. Wikicompany is now migrating to the Web2.0 world of tagging, but with a twist. The tags get a semantical annotation (and are then also RDF compliant!).

Reasons for this ’switch’?

  • The category system is too strict and maintenance heavy.
Listen to this great presentation “What Time Does to Categories” by Clay Shirky to understand the underlying reasons for this statement.
  • Easier input system for users.
  • Better search and browse possibilities.
  • Better REST web service integration, needed for internal and external content syndication.

For more details look here.

Then finally I implemented a true REST web service API for Wikicompany. The API supports RSS2.0/ATOM/JSON/HTML output. With the RSS output now supporting all profile fields. At some point a “HTTP PUT” interface may also be setup if there is a need. Some VNU Examples:

Once the semantic tagging system is working more complex queries can be answered.

Feedback is welcome via this blog, the mailinglist, or send an email to:

Mainpage cleaning & AJAX

February 20, 2006 on 2:01 am | In wikicompany, features, usability, ajax | No Comments

I’ve been re-styling the mainpage of Wikicompany to put more focus on important and interesting elements (see screenshot below).

Next up will be an AJAX-style interface for searching, publishing and browsing.

The search interface will be a simple company / sector / region input-form. Later, an additional advanced search form will be created, with optional RSS/Atom output, to start using the semantical annotations.

The publishing interface will be written in the form of a Specialpage, with pseudo multi-page forms, auto-suggests, and more  web2.0 ingredients.

The browsing interface is pretty much there already, but some things could be probably be improved (at the cost of performance). What would be cool, would be a dynamic filtering interface when browsing in the category tree.

Wikicompany Mainpage


February 13, 2006 on 11:08 pm | In wikicompany, features, tagging | No Comments

I hacked up a tagcloud extension for Wikicompany … just to be more web2.0 compliant -P . See the main page for an example.

The frequency of article visits are automatically extracted from the Apache webserver logs, after doing some log cleaning first. I was surprised to see the Asian company profiles being relatively popular.

There are probably some other good uses for presenting tagclouds on Wikicompany, but just to be clear I also think those tag-everything-and-more web2.0-wannabe sites are really lame.

- Jama Poulsen

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