Selling and overselling the Semantic Web

We got on the train together. I had just finished a four-day
training/consulting session with a company doing information
integration for international security. She was doing a master’s
degree, with a thesis about Ontologies. Like a good grad student, she
was a voracious reader. She had read white papers, research papers,
books, web pages, magazine articles, and anything else she could get
her eyes on. The more she read, the more confused she became.

Should every web page be semantic-backed?

A few months ago, when SPARQL made it up to Candidate Recommendation at
the W3C, the announcement elicited considerable discussion on the
techie forum /.  A common sentiment expressed there was that RDF and
SPARQL are just some weird fad, and that relational tables are here to
stay.  In ten years, we’ll still be coding in SQL, and nobody will
remember what RDF stands for.

FedBizOpps search on "Semantic" = 1

I took a look at Nova Spivak’s Twine demo this week. One of those ouch! moments when you realize that the thing you’ve been trying to build on and off for a couple years just got done better, slicker and faster. I’ve still got a few things I’d do differently – I’d focus more on annotating each URL and using that as a concept address for notes, and provide a simple way for webmasters to get a feed of all the comments users make about their pages.

Semantic Integration – The SI of Tomorrow

Currently when people use the acronym “SI” they tend to refer to something known as ‘Systems Integration’ or specifically to ‘Systems Integrators.’ However, the nature of what a ‘system’ is and how that concept is evolving are going to change the way that we look at this particular term in the relatively near future. I predict that within the next ten years, ‘SI’ in the context of information systems technology will primarily refer ‘Semantic Integration.’

My Semantic Manifesto

I’ve been talking with my son this week about the importance of words and what they mean. He is studying the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Articles of Confederation in his 5th grade history class – he was so inspired by reading those documents that he asked me to take him to the Library of Congress on our trip to Virginia next week. I was suitably impressed and was also reminded of the relationship between concepts and constructs.

Got a live one

On my hunt to find real-life implementors of semantic technologies, preferably ones who have finished projects that impact lots of non-computer people, I’ve now had an extensive interview with a group that fits that bill.

Semantic Web at DAMA

Wilshire conferences is putting on the DAMA International Symposium and MetaData Conference this week here in San Diego. A lot of the issues that data management folks care about (master data management, data federation, identity management) are also dealt with by the Semantic Web.

Mother and baby doing well

You know something is up when RDF and the Semantic Web are mentioned on TechCrunch . That’s not one of the ‘new company raises $6m to enable Semantic Web search, but is never heard of again’ kind of mentions. It’s a simple, straightforward, ‘Yahoo! is now starting to index the metadata embedded in our web-pages, and the web is bound to follow’ kind of mentions.

Connecting the Dots

What is commonly understood about the Semantic Web is not what I care to write about. I have a long professional history of looking to the future of business and how things come together in unique and challenging ways. In other words how stuff turns out that most people did not anticipate and thus did not factor into their decision making – sometimes with terrible consequences. This is no doubt true also with the Semantic Web.

Hey, I thought you could name _anything_

I love RDFa. RDFa is cool. If you haven’t tried it, try it, you’ll like it – its just a really simple way to embed RDF statements in a valid HTML doc using a couple properties like about= and rel= and property=. Check out the primer which is pretty well written and published last October at