Freebase Lightning Tech Talk

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Freebase is a sometimes described as a Wikipedia that allows users to define relationships between items on the web. Tim Dennis presents this collaborative knowledge base and explains how it exposes …

Freebase is a sometimes described as a Wikipedia that allows users to define relationships between items on the web. Tim Dennis presents this collaborative knowledge base and explains how it exposes content through multiple APIs that library coders or patrons can access and reuse.

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  • Open writable semantic database with information on millions of topics. Contains models & links. Models are RFD schemas & links are Freebase also adds a query system that allows developers to treat topic as simple objects. A type a collection of properties that may be applied (hang off) to a topic
  • Each freebase topic is unique – it represents one and only thing. Every fb topic has been smushed (reconciled)
  • 8.4 million topics Freebase operates as a identity db ID for topic – provides key value for Topic Acts as a hub or switchboard for other RDF data stores – musicbrainz, wikipedia Cooperates as 'see also' with dbpedia
  • For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger would appear in a movie database as an actor, a political database as a governor, and a bodybuilder database as a Mr. Universe. In Freebase there is one topic for Arnold Schwarzenegger that contains information about all three facets of his public life. The unified topic acts as an information hub, making it easy to find and contribute information about him regardless of what kind of information it is.
  • Aggregates topics into collections. Notice you can download into various formats or view and edit the schema.
  • Freebase added a bunch of SEC company data. This is an example of a query that looks for directors who on companies of a market cap of 10 million and also stared in a movie. A whimsical example but and example of how you can combine data in interesting and novel ways.
  • The freebase dashboard once logged in. It will show: 1. who you are following, 2. the bases u administer, 3. news about activities on your bases
  • On freebase you can edit existing or add new types and properties. Freebase's auto-complete suggestion will pop up existing types before you add a new one. It won't let you add an existing type.
  • 1. Views. Views are the focal point of bases. They are the individual items that members of a base spend time creating, improving, and showing off to others. At a basic level, a view is just a named collection of topics, like TV Actors, 80s Food and Drinks, or Baseball players born in San Francisco. Views can be displayed as lists or galleries, and can be sorted by any property field in the included topics. Views are easy to create. Check out the Using the Filter View help topic to learn how. 2. News. This is a feed of the latest activity within the base. 3. Members. These are the people who have joined the base. 4. Schema. The schema determines which information fields show up on each of the topic pages in the base. 5. Weblinks. These are links to other bases and third-party websites that the members of a base think are useful and relevant. 6. Help. Each base has its own help section.
  • MQL uses json style queringquerying and returns. The query builder is a way to test queries b/f using in code, etc.
  • Acre is an application hosting platform designed to minimize the effort required by the Freebase community to build web applications that make use of the data contained by Freebase and create mashups with web services provided by others. display the latest news about the 3 companies with the highest market cap in any given industry.
  • When bing searches things that have collections associated in freebase it will populate search with images, etc. if appropriate – eg. Picasso's artwork
  • Zemanta Balloons When you add Balloons to your blog post or article, Zemanta will scan the text, looking for important keywords that correspond to topics in Freebase. When it finds them, it will add a link and a small icon that users can click on to preview the content, and to view more information about that topic from Freebase. Under the hood, Zemanta is tagging pages with Freebase topic IDs (e.g., Afghanistan) instead of free text (e.g., Afghanistan ). By doing that, they can use the Freebase API to dynamically display relevant facts and figures from Freebase. You could imagine how this same notion could be extended in all sorts of ways, as developers build new and interesting widgets capable of understanding the machine-readable Freebase tags.
  • Tippify Tippify uses Freebase data to help you recommend books, movies and music to your friends and keep track of the latest things that they are into. It has a lot of social components that developers can reuse in their own Freebase apps - like sending updates to Twitter and inviting friends via email and Facebook.


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  • 2. Freebase contains data harvested from: The data is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Freebase Blog on Data Loads: Freebase Attribution Policy:
  • 10. Source:
  • 11.
  • 12. Collection View:
  • 13. Example Query for Directors of $10M+ companies who have starred in movies. Source:
  • 14. Freebase User Dashboard
  • 15.  
  • 16. Creating a Base: A Collection of Topics
  • 17. Adding Topics and Views
  • 18. Developer Documentation and Tools
  • 19. Freebase provides a query editor for MQL, the Freebase query language
  • 20. App editing and hosting is provided by Freebase
  • 21. Result of App View
  • 22. Bing enhanced search results pulls in Freebase content
  • 23. Example of how Bing serves up a Freebase collection
  • 24. Zemanta Uses Freebase in Its Keyword Tool Tips
  • 25. Tippify, a Recommendation & Social Site, Uses Freebase as Its Catalog