Bitmunk, Microformats and the Semantic Web

Bitmunk and Semantic Wusic

One of the applications of Microformats that we have identified and are taking the lead on is creating a universal method of marking up audio content on the web. We want to ensure that when you read a website that the web browser can identify every song on the page. When your web browser can correctly identify all of the songs on a web page, a plethora of helpful possibilities are created.

The Semantic Wusic project is intended to create new methods to interact with music on the web. Imagine that when you read a music website, that you will be given the option to “learn more about the artist”, “find the nearest store selling the CD”, “list all of the songs by this artist”, “get song lyrics”, and a variety of other options that will be available to you, regardless of which website you are currently browsing.

We have volunteered to take the lead along with the Microformats community to author the hAudio Microformat (hAudio stands for “hyperAudio”). The hAudio Microformat is used for marking up audio-related information on a website. The simplest example is of marking up is a song and artist on a web page. hAudio allows a website author or blogger to mark up their content with tags specifying artist and song name. The web browser doesn’t have to guess as to what you are talking about on a page – it is evident because the blogger has marked up the information for the computer using HTML.

This means that the web browser can then make helpful suggestions, such as those listed previously. Most importantly, the browser doesn’t have to guess – it knows that the current page is talking about music. In fact, if all of the hAudio elements on the page mention the same artist – the browser can infer that the page is probably about the mentioned artist.

It doesn’t stop there. Based on the hAudio information on the page, Google searches can be performed on your behalf without any typing. Bio information on the artist or band can be retrieved while you read the rest of the blog post. You can start an IM conversation with your friends regarding the artist by simply clicking on an IM-to-friend button. The browser can even look up sales information about the song mentioned on a page without requiring you to to leave the blog entry.

With the help of Microformats – Digital Bazaar is making browsing and discovering media on the web a much richer experience. We envision a day when you can read about a new album in your favorite blog, get information about the artist and even buy the digital album without leaving the blog site.

For more information regarding Microformats, check out the Microformats.org website. For more information regarding our work on the hAudio Microformat, check out the current hAudio proposal.

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