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Use case: AR-1: "News flavoring and alert system"

From: Alberto Reggiori <alberto@asemantics.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004 02:10:03 +0100
Message-Id: <A7D4BDBA-76E6-11D8-8EAC-0003939CA324@asemantics.com>
To: RDF Data Access Working Group <public-rdf-dawg@w3.org>

== Use Case Name

News flavoring and alert system

== Intent: Task & Roles

Actor/User Agent wants to be notified/alerted about certain events or 
news triggers accordingly to his/her personal profile preferences - or 
he/she wants to seamlessly search/browse a specific service which 
automatically filter news/information accordingly to well-known 

== Key Benefits / Value

Users are used to daily poll certain repositories or sources of 
information online to search for and read about specific news or get a 
gist of the daily events/threads - such a task is generally time 
consuming and not trivial especially if the number of sources to 
monitor/read is high. A more automated service is needed. By simply 
expressing his/her own preferences in a profile file available at 
certain URI, the user can delegate such tasks to an ad-hoc designed 
piece of software which will take care of collecting specific online 
news/events accordingly to his/her profile. Or by subscribing to a 
specialized alert service using the profile information, he/she can 
automatically be notified of specific events. Both the user profile and 
the target sources of information/news must be fully decoupled and 
decentralized from each other. And the user must retain full control on 
his/her personal profile information; as well as the sources.

== Description

Today there are several different News sources on the Web which provide 
near real-time fresh information about world-wide events, online 
newspapers or simple community-specific news; Google News [1] is a good 
example of a near real-time Web service providing news articles and 
related images/pictures covering most of the world daily events. 
Similarly using ad-hoc blogging systems, newsletters or some kind of 
digested messages, most IT and Web communities daily exchange 

There exist several systems today which provide an integrated service 
to thematic news/information syndication such as Feedster [2], SlashDot 
[3] or casted to specific communities e.g. PlanetRDF [4] - they 
generally require the user to periodically "poll" the service and 
search for specific topics or articles of interest (or even worse, if 
the number of articles to read/digest is too high the user might not be 
able to). Even if such systems provide some sort of alert/notifcation 
system on thematic news/articles or some ad-hoc structured thematic 
browseable/searchable view over indexed information; the user must 
pre-register or provide to the third party his/her person 
information/preferences to allow the software to filter the information 
accordingly. Each change of preferences (or flavoring) require the user 
to update his/her profile onto a specific server, on a specific 
machine, requiring to remember his/her username/password. And the third 
party system to act accordingly.

What is needed is a federated service/system which is able to 
query/aggregate on-the-fly information accordingly to the users' 
preferences in a fully decentralized and decoupled way (e.g. using a 
URL of a FOAF file [5]) - which guarantees to leave parties in control 
of their respective information. Either the sources and the users must 
be able to describe their articles/flavors using terms from any 
vocabulary at any level of complexity - minimal requirement is they use 
the same URI references. The real benefit comes when the parties use a 
common vocabulary e.g. simple DublinCore [6] or FOAF [7].

The query system must be able to seamlessly search and join the user's 
preferences and the requested information sources, and provide a 
unified view over the data to the end user application. Each party 
specific provenance/source information might be used to further refine 
the query details. If a common set of vocabulary terms or references 
can not be found the result of the query result set is empty.

== Other

=== Examples

A demonstrator of a similar system [8] has been implemented using FOAF 
to express users' profiles and RSS1.0 news feeds generated from a 
selection of italian newspapers. RDF descriptions are augmented with 
some application specific properties which allow to filter/flavor news 
accordingly. Full provenance/source information is being added to the 
sources and extensively used during the query process. Extended RDQL 
queries are used through the whole application to join on-the-fly RDF 
descriptions coming from the user's specified URI FOAF file together 
with the individual newspapers articles URIs. The UI then tailors 
search and browse results accordingly.

=== Applicability/Scale

Real-time data, Personalization/FOAF

== References

[1] http://news.google.com/
[2] http://www.feedster.com
[3] http://slashdot.org
[4] http://planet.rdfhack.com/
[5] http://foaf.asemantics.com/alberto
[6] http://dublincore.org
[7] http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/
[8] http://demo.asemantics.com/biz/nb2/
Received on Monday, 15 March 2004 20:10:12 UTC

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