How the Semantic Web Will Change Information Management: Three Predictions
By Silver Oliver
A lot has been written about what the Semantic Web is, but little has beensaid about the impact it will have. After a brief recap on what the Semantic Web is all about, I will discuss three effects that it will have on the information management.
I am particularly in debt to the work of Chris Sizemore, Michael Smethurst and Tom Coates, who have inspired and informed my interest in this topic.
The Semantic what?
The goal of the Semantic Web is to enable people to share structured data on the Web as easily as they can share documents today.
‘The current Web is a Web of documents where documents (Web pages) are connected by embedded Hyperlinks (links). Thus when you click on one document, the result is a single step Web transversal to another document. This widely understood, and accepted, Web interaction pattern is facilitated by a resource locater called a Uniform Resource Locater (URL) and a messaging protocol known as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).’
Deploying Linked Data
We all know how successful this has been as a model because of its openness and simplicity. The Semantic Web builds on the things that made this model successful for publishing documents, but instead uses it for the publishing of structured data.
What do we mean by structured data?
Take a link to J.K. Rowling on the Amazon page for the book ‘The Half Blood Prince’. Now, this is fine for browsing from a document about the book to a document about the author. But it does not provide any data which is of use in the way that a library catalogue might be, where the database would contain the machine readable statement:
Rowling, J.K. (Author 1965057–), MARC: code Author, Half Blood Prince ISBN 0-7475-8108-8ISBN: No
This is structured data that can be handled by a computer and is more useful, in this case, than a simple link between two documents. People like documents but machines need structured data.
Predictions continue @ http://web.fumsi.com