Sunlight Labs has released some very cool software that allows bloggers, when referring to politicians, to refer not just to a text name, but have a java script enabled bubble pop up with an image and references to the politicians various records (at congresspedia, etc.) Micah Sifry, director, blogs about it here and demonstrates it here. Ellen Miller, Sunlight’s Director, talks about it here. Thanks to the Left Coaster for the link.
This is a specific example of a more general concept which has something to do with the Semantic Web, or the semantic web, as Tantek Celik and the microformats call it. We need people to be first-class objects on the web, and there needs to be ways to refer to a person other than just text. Of course it needs to be easy to do– I’d rather just type the person’s name, or choose it from a list, and have my blog tool put in the plumbing to some uri which define the person.
The popup politician idea got me thinking in terms of how peoplicious could be used in this manner. So I decided to mark up this blog post using peoplicious urls for the people and groups to whom I refer. Try out the links! Hell, lets also do it for a politician, ARNOLD, and a peoplicious list, the 2006 Gov. Candidates
Of course I had to manually put the links in. But let’s say peoplicious or some other people directory service gains traction. Then wordpress might have a plug-in which would automatically insert the plumbing when you referred to a person or group.