For all the one-way feed consumers and aggregators, and readers of the original post, here is a variant equipped hyperlinked phrases as opposed to words. As I stated in the prior post, the post (like most of my posts) was part experiment / dog-fodding of automatic tagging and hyper-linking functionality in OpenLink Data Spaces.

ReadWriteWeb via Alex Iskold's post have delivered another iteration of their "Guide to Semantic Technologies".

If you look at the title of this post (and their article) they seem to be accurately providing a guide to Semantic Technologies, so no qualms there. If on the other hand, this is supposed to he a guide to the "Semantic Web" as prescribed by TimBL then they are completely missing the essence of the whole subject, and demonstrably so I may add, since the entities: "ReadWriteWeb" and "Alex Iskold" are only describable today via the attributes of the documents they publish i.e their respective blogs and hosted blog posts.

Preoccupation with Literal objects as describe above, implies we can only take what "ReadWriteWeb" and "Alex Iskold" say "Literally" (grep, regex, and XPath/Xquery are the only tools for searching deeper in this Literal realm), we have no sense of what makes them tick or where they come from, no history (bar "About Page" blurb), no data connections beyond anchored text (more pointers to opaque data sources) in post and blogrolls. The only connection between this post and them is the my deliberate use of the same literal text in the Title of this post.

TimBL's vision as espoused via the "Semantic Web" vision is about the production, consumption, and sharing of Data Objects via HTTP based Identifiers called URIs/IRIs (Hyperdata Links / Linked Data). It's how we use the Web as a Distributed Database where (as Jim Hendler once stated with immense clarity): I can point to records (entity instances) in your database (aka Data Space) from mine. Which is to say that if we can all point to data entities/objects (not just data entities of type "Document") using these Location, Value, and Structure independent Object Identifiers (courtesy of HTTP) we end up with a much more powerful Web, and one that is closer to the "Federated and Open" nature of the Web.

As I stated in a prior post, if you or your platform of choice aren't producing de-referencable URIs for your data objects, you may be Semantic (this data model predates the Web), but there is no "World Wide Web" in what you are doing.

What are the Benefits of the Semantic Web?

Consumer - "Discovery of relevant things" and be being "Discovered by relevant things" (people, places, events, and other things)
Enterprise - ditto plus the addition of enterprise domain specific things such as market opportunities, product portfolios, human resources, partners, customers, competitors, co-opetitors, acquisition targets, new regulation etc..)

Simple demo:

I am a Kingsley Idehen, a Person who authors this weblog. I also share bookmarks gathered over the years across an array of subjects via my bookmark data space. I also subscribe to a number of RSS/Atom/RDF feeds, which I share via my feeds subscription data space. Of course, all of these data sources have Tags which are collectively exposed via my weblog tag-cloud, feeds subscriptions tag-cloud, and bookmarks tag-cloud data spaces.

As I don't like repeating myself, and I hate wasting my time or the time of others, I simply share my Data Space (a collection of all of my purpose specific data spaces) via the Web so that others (friends, family, employees, partners, customers, project collaborators, competitors, co-opetitors etc.) can can intentionally or serendipitously discover relevant data en route to creating new information (perspectives) that is hopefully exposed others via the Web.

Bottom-line, the Semantic Web is about adding the missing "Open Data Access & Connectivity" feature to the current Document Web (we have to beyond regex, grep, xpath, xquery, full text search, and other literal scrapping approaches). The Linked Data Web of de-referencable data object URIs is the critical foundation layer that makes this feasible.

Remember, It's not about "Applications" it's about Data and actually freeing Data from the "tyranny of Applications". Unfortunately, application inadvertently always create silos (esp. on the Web) since entity data modeling, open data access, and other database technology realm matters, remain of secondary interest to many application developers.

Final comment, RDF facilitates Linked Data on the Web, but all RDF isn't endowed with de-referencable URIs (a major source of confusion and misunderstanding). Thus, you can have RDF Data Source Providers that simply project RDF data silos via Web Services APIs if RDF output emanating from a Web Service doesn't provide out-bound pathways to other data via de-referencable URIs. Of course the same also applies to Widgets that present you with all the things they've discovered without exposing de-referencable URIs for each item.

BTW - my final comments above aren't in anyway incongruent with devising successful business models for the Web. As you may or may not know, OpenLink is not only a major platform provider for the Semantic Web (expressed in our UDA, Virtuoso, OpenLink Data Spaces, and OAT products), we are also actively seeding Semantic Web (tribe: Linked Data of course) startups. For instance, Zitgist, which now has Mike Bergman as it's CEO alongside Frederick Giasson as CTO. Of course, I cannot do Zitgist justice via a footnote in a blog post, so I will expand further in a separate post.

Additional information about this blog post:

  1. I didn't spent hours looking for URIs used in my hyperlinks
  2. The post is best viewed via an RDF Linked Data aware user agents (OpenLink RDF Browser, Zitgist Data Viewer, DISCO Hyperdata Browser, Tabulator).