Calais Ecosystem: Calais for Drupal

Time to start talking about great tools that have been built on top of Calais.

Calais is an initiative by Thomson Reuters to provide one of the core building blogs of the Semantic Web: semantic metadata generation. At the core of Calais is a web service that ingests text content, analyzes using natural language processing, machine learning, lexicons and statistical analysis to extract semantic data from the text and return it as structured information – primarily as RDF. Enough about Calais – I’ll write a big long post about it in the near future.

One of our biggest goals with Calais is to develop – or help others develop – tools that translate this from geekdom to real world usability. One of the areas of focus for that is to integrate Calais within a variety of content presentation and management platforms. There’s a wide range of those platforms – but Drupal stands out as being one of the fastest growing ones in the mid-tier publishing space.

Shortly after Calais was released two members of the Phase2Technology team – Frank Febbraro and Irakli Nadareishvili just stepped up and made it happen by building the Calais Modules for Drupal.

These modules provide a strong building block for construction semantically-enabled Calais applications. The modules provide seamless integration between a range of Drupal node types and the Calais service.

From their description…

The Calais module lets you configure which Content Types you want to request Calais metadata on update. The entities returned can then be automatically assigned to vocabularies related to the Content Types, or it can only suggest terms based on the Calais metadata and allow the user to select the terms you want to associate (think of del.icio.us recommending tags). A flexible set of hooks allows 3rd party modules to make modifications before or after Calais terms have been applied. There are many level of configuration and integration and this is just the beginning.

The Calais Tag Modifier module allows for basic blacklisting of tags, so that you never get terms suggested that you don’t care about. The term substitution mechanism also allows you to modify returned metadata before it gets assigned or suggested.

Beyond what Phase2 has developed to date, the Calais Initiative and Phase2 have agreed to work together over the coming six months to release a series of significant enhancements built on the Calais modules. These enhancements will be oriented toward even tighter integration of Calais with Drupal and providing a comprehensive Calais-powered set of capabilities such as topic hubs and other publisher-oriented features.

So – that’s the description: here’s what’s cool. One of the hottest publishing platforms in the world is integrated with Calais. Users can get access to Calais’ capabilities with essentially zero effort. And – all of this was built buy two highly motivated guys that saw a need and just moved in and got it done.

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