OpenPublish Gets a Dose of Semantic Goodness, Thanks to Community Contribution

Frank Febbraro, Chief Technology Officer
#Development | Posted

At the recent presentation at the Semantic Technology and Business conference (SemTech) in San Francisco, a team from Getty Images, The Associated Press, and the New York Times gave a presentation about the state of rNews.  A year after it's release, rNews has generated a lot of buzz in the online news world. In the discussion of open source tools that implement rNews, Drupal -- and specifically OpenPublish -- were named as key semantic web tools for online news publishers.

Since creating OpenPublish on Drupal 6, semantic web capabilities have been a central piece to the project's goals. Starting with OpenCalais, an integration we worked with Thomson Reuters, the OpenPublish team has always had a keen eye on semantic tools for online news. Recently OpenPublish on Drupal 7 improved its semantic web capabilities, thanks to the contributions of one of Drupal's most knowledgeable semantic web experts.

Stéphane Corlosquet ("scor" on is no stranger to Drupal's semantic web capabilities. He's been working in Drupal for six years, currently with Massachusetts General Hospital, where he researches information sharing and creates (shocker!!) Drupal-based web sites for communities of doctors, patients, and families to share information. He was the leader of the unofficial RDF initiative for Drupal 7 core, and in his free time he likes to hack on the semantic web contributed modules. By all measures, scor is a semantic web bad ass.

So when Stéphane submitted patches for rNews annotations to the OpenPublish issue queue, we couldn't have been happier. As part of his ongoing work on semantic web for Drupal, Stéphane has begun looking at rNews and and their integration opportunities for Drupal. rNews, according to Andreas Gebhard, is "a data model for embedding machine-readable publishing metadata in web documents." Closely related is, another vocabulary that is slightly more generic, where rNews is more tailored to news and publishing. (A recent New York Times article gives a nice overview of the differences).

Stéphane saw rNews as a natural fit for Drupal sites specifically focused on news and publishing, and thought of OpenPublish as the natural integration point. Stephane annotated the existing OpenPublish content types and fields with the rNews vocabulary. Obviously, rNews covers much more than the functionality OpenPublish ships with "out of the box," so there's always the opportunity to continue and grow this integration as the distribution sees new functionality or content types.

Stéphane's semantic web work doesn't stop with Drupal core and OpenPublish. Next on Stephane's plate is work on four key modules on First, the RDFa module, which implements RDFa 1.1, (working on top of Drupal 7 core, which uses RDFa 1.0).  Second, the module, which allows collections of schemas from to drop-in to a Drupal 7 site. Third, the WebID module, an open standard for password-less login on the web; And finally, the experimental and new JSON-LD module, a lightweight linked data format that outputs Drupal entities as JSON-LD via RESTful Web Services.

The Drupal community is incredibly lucky to have a forward thinker like Stéphane in our midst pushing the boundaries of Drupal in the Linked Data and Semantic Web universe. At Phase2, we are also very thankful for his contributions to OpenPublish's semantic capabilities.



Frank Febbraro

Frank Febbraro

Chief Technology Officer