Vancouver Freebase Meetup Report

Sunday February 22nd I had the pleasure of brunching with a group of Freebase enthusiasts. What's Freebase? Here's an explanation from the Freebase website page:

Freebase LogoFreebase is an open database of the world’s information. "Open" means it's built by the community, for the community — anyone can contribute information, create collections of information to share with others, or build applications that use our API. It also means that the database is freely, openly licensed.

The utility of having a large body of knowledge available through an API is cool, but the potential for innovation through this open approach is breathtaking. There were some intriguing ideas discussed at the table and some funny stories around schemas people have created.

For those of you hitting DrupalCon, Boris Mann is apparently talking about Freebase, or at least mentioning it, in his Drupalcon session, Practical Semantic Web and Why You Should Care (or so Kirrily thought). It certainly seems like a good fit with some of the initiatives happening in the Drupal community.

If you're curious for a taste of what happened at the meetup check out my video piece (below), and for added authenticity pour a glass of your favourite beverage. You'll hear about some things people are doing with Freebase, the Freebase Community Coordinator, Kirrily Robert, answers some questions, and enthusiasts Jim Pick and Scott Blomquist describe their projects.

I'm not in a position to judge whether or not Freebase is "best in class", but if you're interested in the semantic web, collaborative data collection or mash-ups, it seems worth checking out. The website is a bit obtuse but the underlying ideas and technology are very cool.

Vancouver Freebase Meetup

The video can also be viewed directly at Vancouver Freebase Meetup - February 2009 at


00:00 Preamble
00:29 Introductions around the table
Mélanie Courtot,
Benjamin Good,
James Taylor,
Scott Blomquist, /
Dorian Taylor,
Jim Pick,
Kirrily Robert, Freebase Profile
04:33 Kirrily Robert, Community Coordinator, talks about Freebase
12:11 Scott Blomquist on the Freebase browser search extension he built in Acre
13:08 Jim Pick on the Vancouver Base Project
15:02 URLs:

Twitter: fbase

Jim Pick's Vancouver Project

Mélanie Courtot

The BioVenturist
James Taylor, Ben Good

Scott Blomquist

And if you have any experiences of your own with Freebase, please share!