Factual’s Crosswalk API by Matthew Hurst.
From the post:
Factual, which is mining the web for knowledge using a variety of web mining methods, has released an API in the local space which aims to expose, for a specific local entity (e.g. a restaurant) the places on the web that it is mentioned. For example, you might find for a restaurant its homepage, its listing on Yelp, its listing on UrbanSpoon, etc.
This mapping between entities and mentions is potentially a powerful utility. Given all these mentions, if some of the data changes (e.g. via a user update on a Yelp page) then the central knowledge base information for that entity can be updated.
When I looked, the crosswalk API was still limited to the US. Matthew uncovers the accuracy of mapping issues known all to well to topic mappers.
From the Factual site:
Factual Crosswalk does four things:
- Converts a Factual ID into 3rd party identifiers and URLs
- Converts a 3rd party URL into a Factual canonical record
- Converts a 3rd party namespace and ID into a Factual canonical record
- Provides a list of URLs where a given Factual entity is found on the Internet
Don’t know about you but I am unimpressed.
In part because of the flatland mapping approach to identification. If all I know is Identifier1 was mapped to Identifier2, that is better than a poke with a sharp stick for identification purposes, but only barely. How do I discover what entity you thought was represented by Identifier1 or Identifier2?
I suppose piling up identifiers is one approach but we can do better than that.
PS: I am adding Crosswalk as a category so I can cover traditional crosswalks as developed by librarians. I am interested in what implicit parts of crosswalks should become explicit in a topic map. Pointers and suggestions welcome. Or conversions of crosswalks into topic maps.