[uf-discuss] Hello / Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC)

John Breslin john.breslin at deri.org
Mon Nov 7 05:06:23 PST 2005

Hi all -

I've just joined the list.  My name is John and I'm a researcher in the 
area of the Semantic Web and social software in DERI Galway, Ireland.

I met Ryan King in July, and talked about our SIOC 
(Semantically-Interconnected Online Communities) project and connections 
to Microformats.  Basically, what SIOC is is an open specification for 
describing communities using online discussion forums or blogs, leading 
to what some may term "distributed conversations".  At the moment, 
online communities are islands that are not interlinked, and the SIOC 
ontology has been proposed to not only link these communities but to 
leverage data in ways that were previously unknown.

I'd be interested in hearing how you think SIOC could be represented 
using new / existing Microformats.  For example, I think using 
rel="sioc:reply_of/has_reply" (similar to the rel="tag" from Technorati) 
in HTML would be a useful way to connect discussion posts between blogs, 
forums, mailing lists etc. as trackbacks at the moment are often not 
explicitly defined in both directions and are also limited to blogs.  
Another example is that using rel="sioc:has_container" in posts would be 
a useful way to create a distributed discussion channel across existing 
discussion media.

The initial version of our SIOC specification has been drafted.  It can 
be used in on its own (having a complete set of terms) or in conjunction 
with other RDF formats such as RSS 1.  In terms of producing metadata, 
we've started with SIOC exporters for open-source discussion systems 
such as WordPress and Drupal / CivicSpace, and more are on the way.  
We're also currently engaged in better aligning SIOC with FOAF (Hi 
danbri!) as there are some redundant / duplicate terms in SIOC.

More info is available from:


While there are many (useful) classes and properties in SIOC, it can 
essentially be boiled down to: Users create Posts that are contained in 
Forums that are hosted on Sites, e.g.

   Site -> host_of -> Forum -> container_of -> Post -> has_creator -> User

Posts have reply Posts, and Forums can be parents of other Forums.

Looking forward to your feedback,



Dr. John Breslin
DERI, NUI Galway
john.breslin at deri.org

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