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Experiments with schema.org


Directly quoting from schema.org:

This site provides a collection of schemas, i.e., html tags, that webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways recognized by major search providers. Search engines including Bing, Google, Yahoo! and Yandex rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages.

Many sites are generated from structured data, which is often stored in databases. When this data is formatted into HTML, it becomes very difficult to recover the original structured data. Many applications, especially search engines, can benefit greatly from direct access to this structured data. On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web. Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure.

My favourite band, New Model Army, are touring later this year so I thought creating a website for their UK tour dates would be a good way to experiment with schema.org markup. First off we have a webpage for the UK leg of their winter tour:

http://www.johngoodwin.me.uk/event/newmodelarmy-uk-wintertour-2013

which is a kind of Music Event, and this is related to a number of sub events such as:

http://www.johngoodwin.me.uk/event/newmodelarmy-uk-Aberdeen-20131112

which is also a kind of Music Event. Each of these events are related to a venue, via the ‘location‘ predicate:

http://www.johngoodwin.me.uk/venue/The-Garage-Aberdeen

I have related each of the venues to locations in the Ordnance Survey Linked Data using the contained in predicate.

For each of the events I have included further markup such as the start date, end date, ticket sites (via the offers predicate) and also links to other pages about the event via sameAs. Similarly I have linked pages about each venue to other pages about that venue via sameAs.

All of the markup is done using RDFa. You can view the machine readable content using the Google Structured Data Testing tool or this RDFa Parser. Here are some examples:

New Model Army UK Winter Tour 2013: rich snippets, RDFa distiller

Aberdeen tour date: rich snippets, RDFa distiller

The Garage Aberdeen (venue): rich snippets, RDFa distiller

Mapping is provided by OS OpenSpace.

Extra: someone asked me what the experiment was. Maybe not much of an experiment really, but simply put I’m curious to find out what happens should these pages get picked up by Google et al., and curious to see what they do with them.

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  1. August 27, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Well you’ve made it to the bottom of page two on Google.com!

  2. August 27, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Richard Wallis :
    Well you’ve made it to the bottom of page two on Google.com!

    Forgot to say that the search I used was ‘new model army tour dates 2013

    • John Goodwin
      August 30, 2013 at 11:01 am

      thanks for pointing that out Richard.

  3. Rob
    August 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    So, were your pages picked up? Rich Snippets? What search terms did they respond to?

    • John Goodwin
      August 30, 2013 at 11:02 am

      So far nothing too exciting – but then I don’t know what I expect either really. Since posting this site I have found other websites using rich snippets for music event information – though most using microdata and not RDFa.

      I think I need to improve my markup so see something more meaningful, but this was just an initial attempt.

  4. August 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Another cool thing you could do is crawl all this data, extract all the triples, and add them to a triple-store so you can perform SPARQL query on your entire dataset. Now you have a very interoperable database :)

    • John Goodwin
      August 30, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Yes! I already have ‘sameAs’ links to FB (and they now provide turtle output) – I might add a few more sameAs links.

      I referenced the Ordnance Survey linked data for postcodes/places (that was my day job) – so we could have some interesting (albeit small) data to play with.

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