Freebase - open source taken one step further
I finally got invited to Freebase - yet another open source content web site a la wikipedia. (Meaning user driven content.) So what's new here? Contrary to wikipedia and the web as it is today - information is typed. This is really cool. I added a topic called "Fredrik Rubensson". A topic is what OO people would call an instance. A topic can be of several types - my topic example is both a Person and a Software Developer. Every type come with a set of attributes that are smashed together on the topic page to create a united view. And - of course - every attribute can be related to a type and get its possible value from that. I tried to add Movie as a type - it worked just fine and I got a long list of attributes related to movies. The interface is intuitive and nice to work with. Text fields have auto completion that makes it easy to find types and topics.
Drawbacks? As with wikipedia - my instinctive reaction is - will this really work? It is similar to wikipedia but requires an extra level of analysis from its editors that most people just don't have. The result may be a mess of types and topics. But being normally pessimistic about people I think I will try the contrary this time and just think it will work.
Freebase is still in early alpha version. If you want to join you need to sign up at the homepage
and get invited eventually. Or you may ask me to invite you when I get the chance. The interface suggests that I will have invitations to use later.