had a Semantic Web Epiphany but can't quite nail down what his
discovered in laymans prose :-)
Well, I'll have a crack at helping him out i.e. defining the
Semantic Data Web in simple terms with linked examples :-)
Tip: Watch the recent TimBL video
interview re. the Semantic Data Web before, during, or after
reading this post.
The popular Web is a "Web of Documents". The Semantic Data Web
is a "Web of Data". Going down a level, the popular web connects
documents across the web via hyperlinks. The Semantic Data Web
connects data on the web via hyperlinks. Next level, hyperlinks on
the popular web have no inherent meaning (lack context beyond:
"there is another document"). Hyperlinks on the Semantic Data Web
have inherent meaning (they possess context: "there is a Book" or
"there is a Person" or "this is a piece of Music" etc..).
Very simple example:
Click the traditional web document URLs for Dan Connolly and Tim Berners-Lee. Then
attempt to discern how they are connected. Of course you will see
some obvious connections by reading the text, but you won't easily
discern other data driven connections. Basically, this is no
different to reading about either individual in a print journal,
bar the ability to click on hyperlinks that open up other pages.
The Data Extraction process remains labour intensive :-(
Repeat the exercise using the traditional web document URLs as
Data Web URIs,
this time around, paste the hyperlinks above into an RDF aware
Browser (in this case the OpenLink
RDF Browser). Note, we are making a subtle but critical change
i.e. the URLs are now being used as Semantic Data Web URIs (a
small-big-deal kind of thing).
If you're impatient or simply strapped for time (aren't we all
these days), simply take a look at these links:
Dan Connolly (DanC) RDF Browser Session permalink
Tim Berners-Lee (TimBL) RDF Browser Session permalink
TimBL and DanC combined RDF Browser Session permalink
Note: There are other RDF Browsers out there such as:
All of these RDF Browsers (or User Agents) demonstrate the same
core concepts in subtly different ways.
If I haven't lost you, proceed to a post I wrote a few weeks ago
titled: Hello Data Web
(Take 3 - Feel the "RDF" Force).
If you've made it this far, simply head over to DBpedia for a lot of fun :-)
Note Re. my demos: we make use of SVG in our RDF Browser
which makes them incompatible with IE (6 or 7) and Safari. That
said, Firefox (1.5+), Opera 9.x, WebKit (Open Source Safari), and
Camino work fine.
Note to Scoble:
All the Blogs, Wikis, Shared Bookmarks, Image Galleries,
Discussion Forums and the like are Semantic Web Data Spaces. The
great thing about all of this is that through RSS 2.0's wild
popularity, Blogosphere has done what I postulated about a while
Semantic Web would be self-annotating, and so it has come to be
To prove the point above: paste your blog's URL into the
OpenLink RDF Browser and see it morph into a Semantic Data Web URI
(a pointer to Web Data that's you've created) once you click the
"Query" button (click on the TimeLine tab for full effect). The
same applies to del.icio.us, Flickr, Googlebase, and basically any
REST style Web Service as per my
RDF Middleware post.
Lazy Semantic Web Callout:
If you're a good animator (pro or hobbyist), please produce an
animation of a document going through a shredder. The strips that
emerge from the shredder represent the granular data that was once
the whole document. The same thing is happening on the Web right
now, we are putting photocopies of (X)HTML documents through the
shredder (in a good way) en route to producing granular items of
data that remain connected to the original copy while developing
new and valuable connections to other items of Web Data.