Monday, May 12, 2008

How to achieve the Semantic Web

The realization of Semantic Web becomes a chick-and-egg dilemma. Without Semantic Web applications, we can hardly build Semantic Web data. But without Semantic Web data, who are going to implement the useless Semantic Web applications? If Semantic Web really represents the future of the Web, we must have overlooked something crucial.

In a recent post at Internet Evolution, I emphasized again that the missing link is the role of humans in the Web. Semantic Web has been thought by many researchers to be equivalent to a web of data. This is thus the problem. Semantic Web is a web of data. But a sole web of data is not sufficient to be Semantic Web. They are not equivalent. The problem is that in the expression of "a web of data" humans disappear. It is this miss that causes the dilemma of Semantic Web.

This connection between WWW and humans seems has been puzzled by many people, including even top researchers. Last Friday, I had tried to ask this relation to a principal researcher at Microsoft and he did not give me a satisfactory answer either. I bet, however, that this connection is quite straightforward to many Web-2.0 people. Again, we are sorry to see the big gap between the industrial Web 2.0 and academic Semantic Web.

More details of my arguments can be watched in the original article. As usual, many thanks to James Johnson who helped edit my post.


Samir Kumar Mishra said...

One of the thing I really don't get about the Semantic Web is why it is limiting itself to Web Only. In my opinion Web is an application of the Internet and Semantic is more needed at the internet level than at Web. If we implement the semantic at Internet level then we are bound to achieve the semantic at Web or be any other application of Internet.


Yihong Ding said...


I am afraid that semantics may not be appropriate to be built at the Internet layer, which is too technical for ordinary Web users to handle.

Moreover, "semantics", to its end, is a subjective term. In this world, no two persons would accept the same semantic explanations to everything. Hence allow ordinary users to be able to control the specification of semantics is an essential requirement for the success of Semantic Web. As we just said, however, the Internet layer is generally out of the knowledge of ordinary users. So we have to be "semantic web" instead of "semantic internet".


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