"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Semantic Web ( Web 3.0 ? )

While Web 2.0 is revolutionizing the World Wide Web early in the 21st century, the idea of a new collaborative universal framework for data representation and knowledge exchange is bubbling up: the Semantic Web. The purpose of this new mesh of information is to represent and link web content in a way that can be easily read, processed and trusted by not only humans but also by machines. For many, the semantic web is Web 3.0, a network in which data is represented following a variety of standard syntax formats such as the Resource Description Language. The initiative of developing the Semantic Web began a decade ago with Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WWW, HTTP and HTML and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the international standards organization fort the World Wide Web. Although the project is at a very early stage, there is a dedicated team at the W3C working on the Semantic Web.

The significance of the Semantic Web is that it could enable computers to acquire and process information from the web with very little or without human interaction. Furthermore, a computer (or a human being) can learn trusted data that has been published by other entities. Therefore, the web would become a universal database of trusted and dynamic knowledge in which little research is needed to find the right information. The semantic web would behave more intelligently because it could perform logic operations and inference based on its knowledge base.

Some advantages of the Semantic Web are powerful web research and access to real collective and universal knowledge. While the world wide web can be seen as an immense collection of documents, words and markup language linked together by simple and explicit hyperlinks, the Semantic web is indeed an organized database of knowledge linked by logic and ontological relationships. Searching the Semantic Web would be tremendously more efficient than searching the World Wide Web as we know it today because the Semantic Web uses axioms, relationships and ontology-based searching mechanisms instead of using a query to find relevant information. Additionally, humans could delegate more tasks to machines because these agents could interact directly with the web, eliminating some of our current bureaucracy and the time humans waste finding basic information on the WWW. For example, a simple query to the Semantic web could find in seconds when there will be an outdoor event in Montreal within the next five days and for which the entrance costs are small and the weather forecast predicts a sunny day.

There are numerous communities which could significantly benefit from this new paradigm. For instance, scientist and organizations could have a very structured and efficient form of sharing and accessing knowledge; marketing agencies would enjoy great opportunities because they would know exactly what a web user is looking for instead of just guessing based on a query word. Furthermore, e-commerce would need to evolve around the Semantic Web taking advantage of its capabilities, such as integrating web applications to interact directly with each other and without human direction, more exact and fast searches and more reliable and organized web content.

1 comment:

bam said...

Look at this Semantic Web technology.