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Tagaroo: Plugging Calais Metadata in WordPress (review)

Calais is Thomson/Reuters’ metadata initiative to make the world’s content more accessible, interoperable and valuable. Calais offers an API, but WordPress admins have a much easier option: the Tagaroo plug-in.

Calais is a toolkit that lets you readily incorporate semantic functionality within your blog, content management system (CMS), website or application. It differs from schema.org in that it isn’t markup but, rather, a tagging system on steroids. If you implement Calais you can tap into a large pool of keywords and access related information.

For bloggers and online publishers, this means a richer user experience and probably a higher ranking in the search engines, too.

Calais enhances content with rich semantic metadata. You use Calais to automatically add metadata such as entities, facts and events. The metadata it generates is easy to integrate with either commercial or open CMS platforms. That’s the beauty of it.

Tagaroo's simple interface to Calais metadata

Tagaroo lets you tag your complete historical archives in hours, improve user search and syndication segmentation, too. But you’ll need a programmer to work with the API, or at least a techie. The integration may be easy, but to most bloggers (and publishers too, I imagine) it’s way over their head how to make their CMS Calais-aware.

But if your Web CMS is WordPress, then the free Tagaroo plug-in offers a ready-to-go system that can simply be turned on. It has a user-friendly interface and very few settings to worry about. It’s a tad limited: You can tag your posts and load Flickr images based on tags. That’s it. No events, no facts.

Still, Tagaroo makes a WordPress author’s life a lot easier. The plug-in searches for relevant tags based on post content, or on your selection. You don’t need to select tags yourself. You also don’t end up with hundreds of different tags. If your topic is always centred around the same basic subject matter, Tagaroo will show the same tags over and over again.

That’s a good thing. How often have you searched through a site’s archives, only to get lost in hundreds and hundreds of “keywords” that make searching this way utterly frustrating? In contrast, a tag base that uses unified terminology and a limited set of words will quickly get you the results you want.

The Tagaroo interface has an icon to add the tag, one to remove it and one to find related Flickr images. It’s got a nice pop-up that shows you license, photographer and topic. Tags are added to your WordPress database. So if you ever decide to remove Tagaroo, you’ll still have your tags.

There’s one disadvantage to using Tagaroo: when Thomson/Reuters’ server is slow to respond, you may end up with an empty suggestions list.

Tagaroo is kept up-to-date by CrowdFavorite and can be downloaded from the WordPress.org site.

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