August 12, 2009

Balisage 2009 - GODDAGS and EARMARKS, Just Ducky And We Love It

Fabio Vitali both figuratively and literally gave an animated talk addressing the problem of overlapping markup and the problem of modeling documents as trees. The title of his presentation, Towards markup support for full GODDAGs and beyond: the EARMARK approach, does little to convey how entertaining he made the subject. Let's just say he didn't duck and run for cover.

The fact that Vitali used a song by my all-time favorite band, the Fab Four, certainly got my attention. And I love it! His case study was a karaoke application which he postulated poses interesting markup challenges. First, the selected song requires pronoun changes based on the gender of the singer. Lines are displayed twice for a one-line lookahead. Chord changes do not exactly match line changes. And the final challenge is embedded fun facts that popup at appropriate points in the song.

Vitali's paper discusses his approach to these challenges -- EARMARK (Extreme Annotational RDF Markup), an OWL ontology with RDF triples. See his Submitted Paper and also his EARMARK site. See also the earlier work by C. M. Sperberg-McQueen and Claus Huitfeldt, GODDAG: A Data Structure for Overlapping Hierarchies.

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