The first useful person profiler
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The first useful person profiler is to the person DTD as the first useful map is to the spacetime DTD.
Today, many people are performing web-searches on other people's names to find out all about them. This is true of living people, living famous people, dead famous people, and even some dead not-very-famous people. It's a universal global thing to do, and very important, especially as the telemarketing industry spreads its own brand of fraud across the whole planet. It is possible that one day search engines will not eventually contain all public reports on anyone, and be important references for anyone's good name.
However, such a method of profiling people is not accurate, not complete, subject to corruption, and just not very fair.
One objective of a wikitext standard would be to make it easy to connect credible information on a particular person, be they historical or current, and make attribution of sources of information on them easier to sort through. This would make the Wikipedia a far more credible source for data on a person than any variation of en:google-like search-engine, and would bring new people to Wikipedia to find out about, at least, famous and historical people, for purposes of buying from them, voting for them, etc... People would come to wikipedia for looking for info about themselves and other people because of many reasons, like the fact that the document of a curiculum vitae is already a quite formaliuzed open network of places, events, institutions and other people.
Some biographies, like that of Wesley Clark, already have far more detail and accurate fact than one would ever get from magazines or conventional news sources. The 2004 US presidential candidates are a good example of how this function works now, with lots of manual effort. This can happen without manual efforts as much as personal data is stored in structured ways and open to the public.
The first useful person profiler would be able to pull together a crude, heavily attributed, first draft article on a person by strictly automated means, and would insert person DTD tags Insert where? that a FOAF system can use to broadcast (via RSS etc.) that this profile/biography of them is available, to many blogs, news outlets, etc... It's useful to try it out and see what kind of technical difficulties occur.
It would be extremely handy when someone enters the news by surprise or near-surprise, like en:Shirin Edari or en:Valerie Plame. Although it will not be capable of writing good articles, it will be capable of writing good stub articles with properly formed references. See the Disinfopedia article on the Bush League for a good example of the level of detail one wants in the long run. That service is doing a pretty good job of assembling all that is publicly known on a certain class of public figure. All that's required is to generalize its methods and apply them here... it is required because biographies are a central part of encyclopaedicas, and the only question is who to integrate and who not. (proposal: there could be ranking, based on cross-references like in the science citation index)
Wikimania 2005 papers
- Jakob Voss: Metadata with Personendaten and beyond
- Christina Hengel & Barbara Pfeifer: VIAF: Linking the Library of Congress and OCLC records with Personendaten