Data Strategy

August 29, 2008

OpenCalais: Semantic Processing as a Web Service

Filed under: Uncategorized — chucklam @ 2:57 am

I’ve recently discovered OpenCalais and found its concept to be really interesting. OpenCalais is a web service created by Thomson Reuters for extracting semantic entities from natural language text. The quickest way to understand it is to check out the demo app here. You can copy-and-paste some text into the entry box and see OpenCalais does its semantic processing on the text. For example, I pasted this sentence I just read in the New York Times, “Judy Estrin, who has built several Silicon Valley companies and was the chief technology officer of Cisco Systems, says Silicon Valley is in trouble.” The demo app picks out the references to a “Person” named “Judy Estrin” as well as a “Company” named “Cisco Systems.” In addition, it picks out a “Quotation” by person “Judy Estrin” with quote “Silicon Valley is in trouble.” It also picks out a “Person Professional Past” relationship between a person of “Judy Estrin”, a position of “chief technology officer”, and a company of “Cisco Systems.”

Now, just imagine that kind of natural language processing capability available as a Web service API, and that is OpenCalais.

The OpenCalais team will be presenting at various events in September, being in Palo Alto on the 3rd and San Francisco on the 4th.



  1. Chuck:

    Tom Tague from Calais here.

    First, thanks for taking note of Calais. We’re pretty proud of it and like it when we get discovered.

    Given the focus of your blog on data strategies I’d like to mention an opportunity for others interested in this space. While Calais is a great tool for extracting meaning from unstructured content – it also has another use: it can turn text into data.

    Just a quick example. You could process a feed of news articles and press releases and convert the events Calais detects (like management changes, IPO’s, natural disasters and many others) into 1’s and 0’s by event type. This can then be fed directly into classic BI and reporting tools.

    This is obviously a very simplified example .. but you get the idea.

    Thanks again.

    Comment by Tom Tague — August 29, 2008 @ 7:02 am

  2. I’m starting to use it at my blog.
    It’s really revolutionary!

    Comment by Francisco Costa — September 17, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

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