How To Create Topics Using Our Context Service

April 18th, 2011 by Joakim Stenberg

Many of the publishers we have talked to are interested in automatic topics or theme pages. This post will cover how you could use our Context service to create good Topic pages. I will not focus on how to implement it technically, but instead I’ll focus on how you would actually work with Topics when implemented in your system.

Let’s start with setting the scenario: You are a news publisher and your goal with using Topics is to create a good landing page for a specific Topic where your visitors can read up on everything you’ve published about that Topic, maybe find some pictures, a timeline, some related Topics might be nice as well and why not some related Tags while we’re at it. So what steps do you as a publisher have to go through to make this scenario come true?

Step 1: Create a new Topic

First of all, you would have to create a Topic. As of today, we cannot automatically figure out what Topics you want on your site.

When creating a Topic, you have to make at least the following two settings:

  • A Topic Name (e.g. The Masters 2011).
  • A date interval for how long this Topic is valid (e.g. only label articles with this Topic between the 7th and the 11th of April).

You might wonder why you should set a date interval? The reason is that today we would have a hard time seeing the difference between e.g. “The Masters 2010” and “The Masters 2011″ so if you want to separate similar Topics from each other, this is the way to go.

Step 2: Tell us what the Topic is about

You have now created your first Topic, you have named it War in Lybia and you have set a start date of 14th of February, but no end date. What’s next?

It’s now time to tell Saplo what kind of articles this Topic is about. Find a couple of articles on the Topic and give them the Topic War in Libya.

That’s it! From now on Saplo will be able to automatically map most new articles concerning the War in Libya to the correct Topic.

Step 3 (optional): Traditional Keywords

Sometimes it’s impossible for us to see the difference between topics, in those cases it can help using traditional keywords to separate Topics from each other. It can be as basic as saying that either e.g. Qaddafi or Libya must be mentioned in the article in order to be placed in a certain Topic.