Friday, July 28, 2006

Plotting relationships

A colleague sent me a link to two sites today, aimed at plotting the human side of relationships online, by contrast with Technorati and Feedster, which plot the "mechanical connections between nodes".

The first of these is called XFN, which stands for XHTML Friends Network, and uses as its starting point, this quote from Tim Berners-Lee:

The web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect — to help people work together — and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world. We clump into families, associations, and companies. We develop trust across the miles and distrust around the corner.
It allows individuals to identify the nature of their relationships with those who appear on their blogroll and accommodates the fact that relationships may not always be symmetrical (for example, I may think that you're my friend, while you may view me as an acquaintance.

The second of these is an online presentation called Bridging XHTML, XML and RDF with GRDDL (Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages).

I'm not sure to what extent the untidiness of human relationships can successfully be defined or plotted within the tidy structures of code, but I'm wading my ignorant way through the material, hoping that it will dawn on me. I'm sure the more technically competent bloggers will make far more rapid progress with the material than I am, and I'd be interested in the thoughts of those fluent in the various MLish dialects.

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