Tim Berners-Lee original vision was for the web is what we today call the Semantic Web:
I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A “Semantic Web”, which makes this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The “intelligent agents” people have touted for ages will finally materialize.
Today, we are drowning in an acronym soup of RDF, RDFa, SKOS, OWL, SPARQL, FOAF, mixed up in various Triple Stores and Schemas. And for the past 10 (15?) years, we’ve seen the key enabler of the Semantic Web, working metadata, never quite arrive. Indeed, Cory Doctorow calls it metacrap… http://www.well.com/~doctorow/metacrap.htm
However, much of the promise of search engines is based around the “understanding” of the queries and the data indexed. And maybe, just maybe, we are finally at the point, with emergence of Web 3.0, that the promise of the Semantic Web is ready to happen. Not hip to Web 3.0? Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Davidjcmorris/Web_3.0
Alex Strumminger, who some of you know, did much of the semantic work for UNICEF’s website, but ran up against all the limitations of the historical suite of semantic technologies. Tomorrow he’ll be joining us to work through how to use Semantic in a practical way.
Alex and his colleagues have been experimenting with an open source project, OpenStructs.org, as a platform, and Alex will walk us through their setup, done in EC2. He’s working on having some of the core developers at OpenStructs.org be available to us that day.
Come join us at lunch time at OSC and play around with some fun semantic technologies. We’ll be working in small teams on various topics. Hopefully this goes a long way towards taking the Semantic web from a set of acronyms to a real tool!