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Advocacy Site ViewChange.org Taps Semantic Web Technology

The Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation-digital media hub

Link TV's new digital-media hub, ViewChange.org, will tap the latest in search technology to enable users to find content complementing the hub's fund of video stories that highlight "progress in reducing hunger, poverty, and disease in developing nations," according to the Link TV site.

The site aims to attract passionate people who want to share and blog about specific topics in the videos they see. Aiding this goal, semantic Web technology, which sees the entire Web as one big database, does more than scan for keywords in content across the Web. It analyzes context and meaning to find the most relevant results. Not only will ViewChange.org site visitors see a video clip; they'll have access to continually updated links to resources from around the Web, including articles, videos, and blogs.

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This could also become the new model for aggregating content across social networks and building the open social graph Google has touted for years. In this instance, ViewChange.org relies on the FreeBase social database as a common reference source to bring in related information.

An investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of more than $2 million for two years aims to support "this pipeline for social change" by bringing "incredible stories" to the masses, according to Wendy Hanamura, who heads the ViewChange.org project. "It relies on breakthrough technologies and gives people a chance to find the stories they are just not seeing," she says.

The site will acquire video content through traditional sources like film festivals, as well as partnering with movie makers and distributors. It will also include supporting material from agencies like the United Nations.

The group will unveil the site, ViewChange.org, on June 1, but expect to see a filmmaking contest, ViewChangefilmcontest.org, launch April 30 to build content and awareness for the site.

ViewChangefilmcontest.org wants professional filmmakers, amateurs and experts to share personal stories about the progress being made in achieving the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals. Site organizers hope to use the videos to raise awareness, inspire action, and accelerate the worldwide movement to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.

The first prize pays $20,000, but there are six categories and the top winner for each receive $5,000. The six categories include Sustainability, Innovation, Overcoming Conflict, Empowerment, Leadership & Governance, and Local/Global Partnerships. Online voters will help determine the finalists in each category. Actor Danny Glover and U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye are among the judges.

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