Triple tags (known as Machine Tags on Flickr) are a way of tagging web content with tags having three parts: a namespace, a predicate and a value. This means that we can differentiate between content about a Beagle dog (tagged taxonomy:vernacular=beagle) and Darwin’s ship, HMS Beagle (tagged maritime:vessel=beagle). Of course, that relies on everyone using the same tagging schema (my two examples could also be tagged with, say, pet:dog=beagle and history:ship=beagle). Fortunately, communities of web authors are agreeing on such schema.
One schema that is widely used is for geo- (or location-) tagging, where posts such as my picture of a Kingfisher on Flickr are tagged with (in that case):
In other words, the coordinates of the place where I took the picture (pages using that schema are also often tagged with “geotagged“).
It is then possible for Flickr to display that picture overlaid on a map of the location.
The Flickr page is also tagged:
which gives the scientific name (binomial or binominal) of the Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, including the Genus, Alcedo.
Another form of tagging, using hash tags, is used by the social media text-messaging service Twitter. Tags in twitter are prefixed with a hash symbol (#), hence the name. A “hash-tagged” message might look like:
I live in #England
Hash tags are parsed by three sites that I know of (there may be others — if so, please let me know): Hashtags (e.g. Hashtags for #blog), Summize (Summize for “#blog”) and Twemes (Twemes for “#blog”).
All well and good.
It occurred to me recently that it should be possible to use Triple tags in Twitter messages, so I posted these “tweets” as they’re called (I find that rather, er, twee):
#tagged post about #Kingfisher #taxonomy
Is anyone is parsing #geotagged posts like this: #geo:lat=52.478342 #geo:lon=-1.895389 ( #birminghamuk #rotunda #geo #geotag #tripletag)
(line breaks have been inserted to improve readability)
Disappointingly, none of the three hash tag parsers above managed to understand these. They all see “#geo:lat=52.478342″ as just “#geo” and “#taxonomy:binomial=Alcedo_atthis” as just “#taxonomy”.
Worse still, Hashtags wrongly displays my two posts without the second two-thirds of the tag content, as:
#tagged post about #Kingfisher #taxonomy ( #taxonomy #taxonomy ) and:
Also wonder if anyone is parsing #geotagged posts like this: #geo #geo ( #birminghamuk #rotunda #geo #geotag)
- #geo:lat=52.478342 on Summize
- #geo:lat=52.478342 on Twemes
- #geo:lat=52.478342 on Hashtags.org
- #taxonomy:binomial=Alcedo_atthis on Summize
- #taxonomy:binomial=Alcedo_atthis on Twemes
- #taxonomy:binomial=Alcedo_atthis Hashtags.orgs
Wouldn’t it be great if services which parse hash tags in Twitter messages also recognised “hash-triple-tags”?
[Update: Summize was bought by Twitter and is now absorbed by them as Twitter's own search.]
[Update: Hashtags.org now parses the triple tags as, for example, just "#taxonomy"]
[Update: David Carrington of Dabr tells me that some of these triple tags are too long for Twitter's search API. I'll try to find out what the limit is, and raise the matter with Twitter's support people]
[Update: There is now a tool to automatically generate tags for Flickr images of living things; iNaturalist tagger.]