O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference - March 3-6, 2006 - San Diego, CA
Conference Coverage


reBlog: Attention Multiplexer for Semi-Structured Content

Michal Migurski, Technology Lead, Stamen Design
Michael Frumin, Technical Director, Eyebeam

Date: Thursday, March 09
Time: 9:35am - 10:20am
Location: Madeleine CD

The reBlog project began as weblog aggregator augmented with one-click republishing and automatic source attribution. It was an experiment in manual repurposing of the ever-growing mass of freely licensed media. With the appearance of social book-marking services and increasing numbers of RSS-aware applications, reBlog's role has changed.

Web content is slowly becoming more structured, making it suitable for the sort of aggregation functions provided by an RSS client with republishing capability. This places reBlog into the role of an attention aggregator, allowing curators to mix and match anything, not just RSS feeds. The appearance of microformats and client-side behaviors takes this further, making any selectable, addressable piece of content on the web available to reBlog. Each installation becomes a focal point for an individual or organization's attention. Various inputs are read, weighed, and processed, resulting in a curated stream of interest. reBlog abstracts the process of weblogging further, and creates a formal mechanism for selection and publishing of information.

reBlog is currently in use or being considered for use by such diverse publishers as art-news web sites (Rhizome, Eyebeam), popular linkblogs, graduate-level courses on social internet applications in business communications, and global cultural news aggregators (Harvard's Global Voices Online). Migurski and Frumin will describe a few of these case studies, and explore questions raised by each:

  • Efficiencies in closed-group communication
  • Effect of newly standardized inputs, such as microformatted content
  • Emergent behaviors from plug-ins and modifications
  • Copyright concerns and potential for abuse, e.g., SEO spam
  • Search engine response


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