Reuters and the Semantic Web

February 10th, 2008

Tim O’Reilly wrote in Reuters CEO sees “semantic web” in its future about Reuters’ motivations for embracing Semantic Web technology.

“At Money:Tech yesterday, I did an on-stage interview with Devin Wenig, the charismatic CEO-to-be of Reuters (following the still-not completed merger with Thomson). Devin highlighted what he considers two big trends hitting financial (and other professional) data: … The end of benefits from decreasing the time it takes for news to hit the market. … he increasingly sees Reuters’ job to be making connections, going from news to insight. He sees semantic markup to make it easier to follow paths of meaning through the data as an important part of Reuters’ future. … Ultimately, Reuters’ news is the raw material for analysis and application by investors and downstream news organizations. Adding metadata to make that job of analysis easier for those building additional value on top of your product is a really interesting way to view the publishing opportunity. If you don’t think of what you produce as the “final product” but rather as a step in an information pipeline, what do you do differently to add value for downstream consumers? In Reuters’ case, Devin thinks you add hooks to make your information more programmable.”

This provides some background for their recent announcement of the Reuters Calais information extraction service. It extracts named entities, events and relations from text and returns the information as RDF data.