In 2006, I stumbled across Jason Kolb (online) via a 4-part series of posts titled: Reinventing the Internet. At the time, I realized that Jason was postulating about what is popularly known today as "Data Portability", so I made contact with him (blogosphere style) via a post of my own titled: Data Spaces, Internet Reinvention, and the Semantic Web. Naturally, I tried to unveil to Jason the connection between his vision and the essence of the Semantic Web. Of course, he was skeptical :-)

Jason recently moved to Massachusetts which lead to me pinging him about our earlier blogosphere encounter and the emergence of a Data Portability Community. I also informed him about the fact that TimBL, myself, and a number of other Semantic Web technology enthusiasts, frequently meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the MIT hosted Cambridge Semantic Web Gatherings, to discuss, demonstrate, debate all aspects of the Semantic Web. Luckily (for both of us), Jason attended the last event, and we got to meet each other in person.

Following our face to face meeting in Cambridge, a number of follow-on conversations ensued covering, Linked Data and practical applications of the Semantic Web vision. Jason writes about our exchanges a recent post titled: The Semantic Web. His passion for Data Portability enabled me to use OpenID and FOAF integration to connect the Semantic Web and Data Portability via the Linked Data concept.

During our conversations, Jason also eluded to the fact that he had already encountered OpenLink Software while working with our ODBC Drivers (part of or UDA product family) for IBM Informix (Single-Tier or Multi-Tier Editions) a few years ago (interesting random connection).

As I've stated in the past, I've always felt that the Semantic Web vision will materialize by way of a global epiphany. The count down to this inevitable event started at the birth of the blogosphere, ironically. And accelerated more recently, through the emergence of Web 2.0 and Social Networking, even more ironically :-)

The blogosphere started the process of Data Space coalescence via RSS/Atom based semi-strucutured data enclaves, Web 2.0 RDFpropagated Web Service usage en route to creating service provider controlled, data and information silosRDF, Social NetworkingRDF brought attention to the fact that User Generated Data wasn't actually owned or controlled by the Data Creators etc.

The emergence of "Data Portability" has created a palatable moniker for a clearly defined, and slightly easier to understand, problem: the meshing of Data and Identity in cyberspace i.e. individual points of presence in cyberspace, in the form of "Personal Data Spaces in the Clouds" (think: doing really powerful stuff with .name domains). In a sense, this is the critical inflection point between the document centric "Web of Linked Documents" and the data centric "Web or Linked Data". There is absolutely no other way solve this problem in a manner that alleviates the imminent challenges presented by information overload -- resulting from the exponential growth of user generated data across the Internet and enterprise Intranets.