371e The 7th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2008) | John Giannandrea

ISWC 2008

Freebase: An Open, Writable Database of the World’s Information

Freebase is an open database of the world’s information, built by a global community and free for anyone to query, contribute to, and build applications on. Drawing from large open data sets like Wikipedia, MusicBrainz, GNIS, EDGAR etc., Freebase is curated by a passionate community of users and contains structured information on millions of topics such as people, places, music, film, food, science, historical events, and more.

Part of what makes this open database unique is that it spans domains, but requires that a particular topic exist only once in Freebase. Thus freebase is an identity database with a user contributed schema which spans multiple domains. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger may appear in a movie database as an actor, a political database as a governor, and in a bodybuilder database as Mr. Universe. In Freebase, however, there is only one topic for Arnold Schwarzenegger that brings all these facets together. The unified topic is a single reconciled identity, which makes it easier to find and contribute information about the linked world we live in.


John Giannandrea co-founded Metaweb Technologies with Danny Hillis and Robert Cook in 2005. Freebase is Metaweb’s first product. Previously, John was Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of TellMe Networks, where he was responsible for the development and operation of the world’s largest VoiceXML network which processes over two billion voice calls per year. Tellme was acquired by Microsoft Corporation in 2007. Prior to TellMe, John was Chief Technologist of Netscape’s Web browser group where was involved in all versions of Netscape Navigator from 1.0 to the Mozilla open-source release. Throughout his career, John has contributed to many industry standards and protocols, including Java, HTML, HTTP, SSL, and early versions of RDF. John is originally from Scotland and graduated from Strathclyde University, Glasgow.


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