Content recommendation using Zemanta
Irina Hu anu
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Computer Science,
Computational Linguistics ( 2nd year),
Faculty of Letters graduate
Abstract.Zemanta is a tool that helps a blog user to better manage and represent the content
he or she is writing. The application is developed so that links, pictures, images and tags to be
easily added and discovered : “Zemanta is a tool that looks over your shoulder while you blog
and gives you tips and advice, suggests related content and pictures and makes sure your posts
get promoted as they deserve to be.”1
Zemanta has its good and bad sides, although it helps you to easily find the material you need
to promote the blog, it can be quite useless if you choose to write your blog in another
language than English and at times it doesn’t return very accurate results.
Zemanta supports supports blog platforms like Wordpress.com, Self-hosted Wordpress.org
2.1+, Blogger.com, TypePad, Ning, MySpace, LiveJournal, MovableType, Tumblr, Drupal,
Joomla. Depending on the platform the blogger uses, Zemanta can be installed as a plugin or as
an extension. However, after installing it in your browser, things are easy, just open your blog’s
dashboard and this little tool will state its presence. Just like in the picture.
Fig. 1 Zemanta tool
http://www.zemanta.com/learn/ - learn
As you can see Zemanta is placed in the right corner of your dashboard and it displays photos,
images, related articles that have connection with what the blogger is writing at the moment.
The search results are given on the basis of a comparison. The tool scans the text while you
are typing it, selects the words that seem to have bigger relevance and goes online searching
for links, photos and related articles. Most of the time it returns results that point to websites
like Wikipedia, Flickr or Google Maps. The main reason for this is the fact that the
application is not yet fully developed, but, in the future, the authors promise us a more
complex semantic linking2.
2. Positive aspects
At first sight, Zemanta doesn’t seem a very attractive and useful tool. You say to yourself that
searching for some photos and related articles it’s not such a big deal. And, in fact, it isn’t, but
why should you do it, when someone else can do it for you. It also helps the user to save up
time, because the search is performed during the writing activity.
Another plus is the drag-and-drop capabilities and the simple tagging. If the user discovers a
photo or image that thinks to be appropriate for his/her site, just drags it inside the editor or
double-clicks on the picture and that’s it. The links and tags are displayed under the editor and
are button-like, a simple click will automatically link you to a reference or tag your article.
Fig. 2 The links discovered by Zemanta (orange display)
„Placing semantically smart links is a hard problem. We decided to give you this tool and let you help us shape its future
development. We will be suggesting links to many more sources in the future. Please share your expectations with us.”
http://www.zemanta.com/faq/ - faqid-10
Fig.3 The related photos returned by Zemanta and the Search option.
When it comes to copywriting, Zemanta displays the source of a photo or article, thus
protecting the user. We also need to add that this tool searches only images that display
their original author, hence the irrelevant search results it sometimes offers. It also supports
quoting, transferring the content from one blog to another and always linking the quote to
the original site, preventing plagiarism. In other words that is the utility of the REBLOG
An interesting feature of this application is the capacity of previewing the site reference of a link,
just by hoovering the cursor over it. The user will choose to visit or not the web page by simply
inspecting the balloon preview3.
3. Negative aspects
Zemanta has limited functionality when it comes to other languages than English. We tried to use
this application on a blog post written in Romanian. The only valid results were the pictures, but
those too unsatisfying, because it couldn’t find anything relevant for our topic4.
Another aspect that gets in the way of pretentious blog users is related to the design of the post. The
photos you drag and drop in the editor cannot be moved or rearranged and the same happens when
we talk about the related articles Zemanta discovers. The latter can be added only at the end of the
article without having the possibility to move them, thus this tool forces the user to accept only its
The most problematic aspect seems to be related to its main functionality: the searching proccess.
Most of the time the results are not relevant, especially when it comes to related articles and when
your post is short and concise. We noticed that even works listed in the Wikipedia database were
omitted, thus needless to say that Zemanta should suffer some important makeover.
4. Zemanta and DBpedia5
Zemanta is used as a tagging tool, retrieving most of the information from Wikipedia. The Dbpedia
project extracts knowledge from Wikipedia and organises it in a logical model, making the
Wikipedia knowledge more accesible world wide. Zemanta uses this platform to query Wikipedia
database and return the most adequate tags and links.
Zemanta and Dbpedia are also connected to Linked Galaxy 6. Zemanta identifies the semantic entities
in the text written by the blogger and uses Linked Galaxy to connect with Dbpedia, this way the
queries are more sophisticated and interesting references might be discovered.
5. Final remarks
Overall, Zemanta seems to be a helpful device for active bloggers that cannot waste time searching
the web for visual aids and suggestive information to complete their posts. The tool is fast, offers a
good functionality and acceptable search results. For a better functionality of this little device the
user should write longer articles, the bigger the wordbank, the merrier the results.
The shortcomings are connected with some limits of the application, like the impossibility to create
your own design of the post (he photos can be placed only on the right or on the left of the text, but
not both at once) or the narrow laguage option, the user is forced to stop only at English, for other
idioms the search returns erroneous results.
Engage Audience Longer, http://www.zemanta.com/learn/#traffic