RealTravel is a Collective Knowledge System in the consumer Internet space. Built during the rise of the Web 2.0 / Social Web, and employing techniques from Web 3.0 / Semantic Web, RealTravel aspired to be the best place on the web to share knowledge and experiences about travel. The site provides an environment for a community of travel enthusiasts to create beautiful travel journals of their adventures, share them with friends and family, and find other like-minded travelers. People looking for information about where to go, where to stay, or what to do in their travel can learn from the authentic experiences of those who have been there. At its peak Realtravel.com had millions of monthly users and tens of thousands of travel writers contributing.
The site applied technologies from asynchronous collaboration, knowledge management, social networks, GIS and mapping, tagging, content management, and machine learning.
An important innovation is the use of travel journals (a form of blogging) to motivate the contribution of high quality travel information. Another is to organized these contributions into a grid of structured data about places in the world and semistructured data about people’s travel interests. By aggregating individual contributions from people traveling all over the world, RealTravel can provide recommendations about where to go and what to do based on real travel experiences. Tom was co-founder and responsible for product design and implementation.
- presentation on the power of integrating structured and unstructured information to harness collective intelligence
- presentation about principles for designing social web sites like RealTravel
- journal article on the technical approach used in RealTravel that integrated the Social Web and the Semantic Web