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Semantic Web

DEC 14th 2010

What is the Semantic Web?

Published 6 years ago by David Siegel

There's a lot of confusion about what the semantic web is, exactly. There are so many definitions that I can't possibly unify everything in one article. Some people say it's all about linked data, RDF, and ontologies. Some people call it "Web 3.0." (I recently gave a keynote speech at a "Web 3.0" conference, where many of the people had confused "Web 3.0" with "Web in 3D." I'm sure many people in the audience wondered why I wasn't talking about the future 3D web and, instead, was talking about information.) Some people say it will lead us to the singularity. Rather than try to define these terms, I propose we abandon them. I propose we stop talking about complicated solutions and start talking about problems.

Continue reading What is the Semantic Web?

JUL 30th 2010

It has been twelve years since Tim Berners-Lee threw up his hands and said "it's all crap, let's do it over" and set off to create the Semantic Web. We've got very little to show for it so far. I firmly believe the work Semantic Web technologists are pursuing is important and the concepts will inevitably be realized and I very much want to see this research become viable. But things are not moving fast enough and the tack semantic researchers are taking simply isn't working.

Semantic Web technology is marred in a chicken/egg paradox. The technologies are generally not useful unless they are adopted and implemented on a large scale and people are not willing to invest in implementing them unless they are useful. This is exacerbated by the fact that there are very high technology, business, and social barriers to implementing the Semantic Web.

Continue reading RDF Semantic Web Research Isn't Working

Semantic Web services follow a life cycle, right from deployment to its invocation.

The life cycle of Semantic Web services comprises different stages like service modeling, service discovery, service definition and service delivery. The life cycle begins with modeling the web service and the service request by the provider and the consumer respectively. Web service descriptions are developed using models like OWL-S, WSMO. Service descriptions are used in the discovery stage on which discovery algorithms, matchmaking techniques are applied. Once a set of service providers are identified for a service requester, service definition takes place to select the concrete service. Finally, the concrete service is delivered to the service requester in the delivery phase.

Continue reading Semantic Web Service Life Cycle and Service Modeling

DEC 9th 2008

FreebaseFreebase stores millions of entities and assertions about nearly every topic one can ponder (thanks are owed to their seed dataset – Wikipedia – and their amazing community). The amount of information that Freebase stores is incredible, and is a testament to what can be accomplished with the help of a dedicated community and a little (or a lot) of clever software engineering.

Continue reading Can Graphd Scale to Meet Semantic Web Demands?

I just stumbled upon a useful resource from Sindice (the Semantic Web search engine) called the Map of Data. The Map of Data lists sites that export their information via Microformats and embedded RDF (as well which format(s) the sites are using). Each site has been categorized and conveniently placed into lists. The categories include books, people, places, products and listings, social news, events, politics, and more. According to Sindice over 10 billion pieces of reusable information can already be found across 100 million pages.

OCT 30th 2008

The Seesaw Effect of Algorithms vs. DataOver the years I've noticed that the importance of algorithms and data tends to shift back and forth, depending on which at the time is hardest to duplicate (often from a business perspective). This effect seems to be caused by the availability or demand of one side increasing or decreasing, shifting the balance of importance to the other. At one point the world of software was dominated by the proprietary. The organization with the best software (backend, algorithms, etc) was the dominant entity and data (from say, a Web 2.0 perspective) was generally not the focus. This may have partly been the responsibility of a mindset formed during an era with very little storage space and before mass user activity on the Web.

Continue reading Algorithms vs. Data: The Seesaw Effect

OCT 30th 2008

Cross-Pollinating DBpedia and FreebaseNow that Freebase is available as Linked Data a big question that comes to mind is whether these two major projects will move to assimilate one another. DBpedia and Freebase – two endeavors primarily focused on curating unstructured and semi-structured data about everything and releasing it back into the wild (with structure) – get the bulk of their information from Wikipedia, so the amount of topical overlap is assumed to be extremely high. DBpedia gains new information when it extracts data from the latest Wikipedia dump, whereas Freebase, in addition to Wikipedia extractions, gains new information through its userbase of editors.

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FreebaseAt ISWC2008 Freebase released its new RDF service for generating RDF representations of Freebase topics, allowing Freebase to be used as Linked Data! To obtain the RDF data for a topic send a GET request to http://rdf.freebase.com/rdf/some.topic.id where "some.topic.id" is replaced by the desired topic identifier (slashes in the identifier must be replaced by dots). Topic data can be represented as N3, RDF/XML or Turtle depending on the preferences expressed in your client's HTTP Accept header. Try it out with the Freebase topic Semantic Web.

Continue reading Freebase Officially Linked Data with Release of RDF Service

ReadWriteWeb just posted an interesting article about investor opportunities and pitfalls in the Semantic Web space. The questions were asked to a panel of industry insiders at the SemTech 2008 conference. Panelists include Amanda Reed (Palomar Ventures), Eghosa Omoigui (Intel), and Stephen Hall (Vulcan Capital). This information can be very useful if you're looking to start a business within the Semantic Web industry.

When constructing the Semantic Web, we are actually building two varied aspects simultaneously. One aspect is the Web that includes things such as the communication protocols, the Web data presentation formats, and so on. In particular, we have invented new technologies such as RDF, OWL, SPARQL, and other W3C recommended Semantic Web standards. The other aspect is the semantics that represent the meanings of Web data. Building semantics is, however, different from building the Web.

Continue reading Building Semantics is Different from Building the Web

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