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Re: New Research Alert: The Fate of the Semantic Web

From: David Pullinger <David.Pullinger@coi.gsi.gov.uk>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 16:27:59 +0100
Message-Id: <4BE8340E.9179.0047.0@coi.gsi.gov.uk>
To: <rachel.flagg@gsa.gov>,"Adam Harvey" <harvey@thedesignstate.com>
Cc: <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Dear all,
I had the same debate over the future of the Semantic Web with the CEO Microsoft Research here in UK.  He told me that MS don't believe in the Semantic Web, they would prefer to number-crunch meaning based on search.  However when I described what we were actually doing, he agreed that it would substantially help them irrespective of use of semantic web or not.
Specifically, for structuring textual information (as opposed to numbers and descriptive metadata) for re-use, we tell government public bodies that they must:
publish one object per page, so that each has a URI
ensure that all descriptions are exposed to web search engines, for example via an XML Sitemap, so findable and retrievable,
ensure that all consultation descriptions are structured in the standard way, according to < ArgotConsultation ( http://code.google.com/p/argot-hub/wiki/ArgotConsultation ) for consultations> , so there is consistency, and
ensure that all descriptions are marked up with RDFa or XML/RDF using the correct vocabulary, to make re-usability easier.
However this last step could be considered unnecessary if using some other analytical means, for example number-crunching, semantic extraction or social identification (social media use/ Google selection etc.)  The first three are completely essential.
For the debates in W3C eGov, there are things for which we need to develop common structures because they help within-nation activities (job descriptions, consultations, agendas, public body descriptions, official documents etc.) and things that help across (which are mainly number data).   
A consensus on the former saves us time and effort and so cost efficiencies, provided they are simple and easy to implement and use.  A consensus on the latter supports cross-nation benchmarking and international comparisons. For example, agreeing a common standard for describing official documents would come into the former category (probably a simple extension/particular application of Dublin Core).  Many of the requests on the email list for commonality are for access to data coming into the latter.  Distinguishing the two would be helpful in the work of this group and for explaining the value of our investment of time and intellectual input.  Some quick wins implemented in at least 5 nations to demonstrate both aspects would be fantastic.
David Pullinger
Head of Digital Policy
Central Office of Information
Hercules House
7 Hercules Road
London SE1 7DU
020 7261 8513
07788 872321
Twitter #digigov and blogs:  www.coi.gov.uk/blogs/digigov

>>> Adam Harvey <harvey@thedesignstate.com> 06/05/2010 16:07 >>>
Hi Rachel,

+1 to your sentiments. Less talk, more follow-through.

On May 6, 2010, at 10:59 AM, rachel.flagg@gsa.gov wrote:

eGov group members, 
I just read this new report from Pew (link below), and all the comments from survey respondents, and it got me thinking about our eGov group.  Lately the email conversations and conference calls within our group have been dominated with talk of linked data and the semantic web....and I think we are moving away from our core mission. 

I am wondering how the semantic web can, in a PRACTICAL way, really help us improve electronic government in the next few months of our Charter... especially given that the semantic web still seems to be, to a great extent, theoretical.  I am a big fan of practicality - and since our Charter has a time limit - if we are going to develop some serious, practical standards to help governments around the world improve their online service delivery... is the semantic web really the best way to get there? 

I welcome your thoughts on how we can get our group back on track, working toward our THREE areas of focus: 

 - Usage of Web Standards (Government Websites and use of best practices and standards) 
 - Transparency and Participation (Enabling discovery, communications, and interaction) 
 - Seamless Integration of Data (Use of data standards, Semantic Web, XML) 

Read the report: "The Fate of the Semantic Web" http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Semantic-Web/Overview.aspx?r=1 

Rachel Flagg 
Forum Community Manager
 & Co-Chair, Federal Web Managers Council 
Government Web Best Practices Team
Office of Citizen Services 
U.S. General Services Administration 
www.webcontent.gov - Better websites. Better government.

----- Forwarded by Rachel L. Flagg/XCC/CO/GSA/GOV on 05/06/2010 07:38 AM ----- 

Pew Internet & American Life Project <info@pewinternet.org> 
05/04/2010 01:50 PM 
Please respond to

New Research Alert: The Fate of the Semantic Web

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The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI1C07U3nV914c8F7gaCD3x2zxvGMM1prQfTvgnrxXNC_z5v1rH5xaUcbXD_I9vAaLpG75ibKzdX-ZqYBDTOJBHVgx338qiyZk2f4kLxVHRSTQ==]

The Pew Research Center's
Internet & American Life Project

Report Alert

New Report: The Fate of the Semantic Web [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI35NY1_2-OqjWKENbU801OJ6j2rRgy-8cw7Y8Zu6xk-P5Axd1n23lR8lb_SjRKsldmlFTv0Ev9NOu42vh1aRZvMKvBftXpuvpd-HD6Dk8rmPxJkoVFSOEb7igoDcNykUeNulkjayvAolBIxUKlaILHH]
By Janna Anderson, Lee Rainie 


May 4, 2010
Technology experts and stakeholders who participated in a recent survey believe 
online information will continue to be organized and made accessible in smarter 
and more useful ways in coming years, but there is stark dispute about whether the
improvements will match the visionary ideals of those who are working to build the
semantic web [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI3IMB91g_98ODxZNcOCVM_4GG0TEW-SG41U7bqM1T7xFYYt8JUSH_Uoy4bd3508wXDq9D_mM0GTOew7x_ADCqVUz_MwSUXzh7jB_-TQpa3IzDmczmJ-7HIvYST2jacZaDaIhIXnGDIBYBqaW6R31kwj_zDYpGnnbLgttIOAd4vIiO9JqqxLRVo1LJimaGt0OVoNNgK1kniVGw==]. 

Some 895 experts responded to the invitation of the Pew Research Center's Internet
& American Life Project and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center to predict
the likely progress toward achieving the goals of the semantic web by the year 2020. 

Asked to think about the likelihood that Berners-Lee and his allies will realize
their vision, often called Web 3.0 [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI35NY1_2-OqjWKENbU801OJ6j2rRgy-8cw7Y8Zu6xk-P5Axd1n23lR8lb_SjRKsldmlFTv0Ev9NOu42vh1aRZvMKvBftXpuvpd-HD6Dk8rmPxJkoVFSOEb7igoDcNykUeNulkjayvAolBIxUKlaILHH],
these technology experts and stakeholders were divided and often contentious.
Some 47% agreed with the statement: 

"By 2020, the semantic web envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee will not be as fully effective
as its creators hoped and average users will not have noticed much of a difference."
Some 41% agreed with the opposite statement, which posited: 

"By 2020, the semantic web envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee and his allies will have
been achieved to a significant degree and have clearly made a difference to average
internet users." 

The web-based survey gathered opinions from prominent scientists, business leaders,
consultants, writers and technology developers. It is the fourth in a series of 
Internet expert studies [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI351yrh91tYPRKXTWIJ2XWKZkOwP0puGgJTp-vcHhqCFXzdetSXN9eiwKz1G7JwnSl3RFlwUgbbZWcnoEG-fz1r7TZQCTIp7-XMTNdlpZUrzNkUHpR0G-cstrM8EY9CGx8isZkdDy2Re9UlKP_IwEWN]
conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University and the Pew Research
Center's Internet & American Life Project. 

Read more: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Impact-of-the-Internet-on-Institutions-in-the-Future.aspx 

Imagining the Internet - Elon University [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI1ttZCdCPoRHSdp-YH-LfXFrWnuQs600TG0rxTmHnKVyhTJ0DBvBeUXeqrWWtEScGsRIafEruj7BL0gSvDDo9lfzRb4ek4bKNp1TE2JFwEP-_8c0GJ0iVALwCg6KTbxz3_hdFg6zQHk5rYhXw7y3z6EXz1rl0uoK4_pgMLu2dpPl4bZb-2bHs4UZqI1ImFke1HU_GJaevfmzA==]

This publication is part of a Pew Research Center series that captures people's 
expectations for the future of the Internet, in the process presenting a snapshot
of current attitudes.
Find out more at: http://pewinternet.org/topics/Future-of-the-internet.aspx [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI29c1DDeG2rOCEjOayUsX78512BWm4XhHS_6dAafH1IvBhPc-0kz-K9EvSmtDhYfz1dBL_7G6mJDtyazKDJ8_L0q8j1VLcTcT8_PJKTYyXUwmfTcvaMM2hTjlgLqZtVW5Fhte6NbkFDKyanZWNpr3q9]
and http://imaginingtheinternet.org [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI3AvLZlUbwRuWiyL4j0RgY1nXOO4SbNQPeGClr6DQV82BfV8_QZIQkGePElFec3_bfRQ1KzizAgnDAv48G90CHQ2n6U2DP81OQQwPEqiqnIlUdgTqC6zm9O].

About the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project
The Pew Internet Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit
"fact tank"that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping
America and the world. Pew Internet explores the impact of the internet on children,
families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political 
life.  Support for the project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.  The Project's
website is:  ( http://imaginingtheinternet.org/ )http://www.pewinternet.org [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI3ektOrz-EL3-2HAktoA4Ab8bJdhlYJp8IHQUHoLNs1dLfSaW6agZK1lMlGWmXlfjXa3foL_dzRS6RpyToRaluymcIoOTiLmD7CLMoj7hWMFg==].

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Received on Monday, 10 May 2010 15:29:21 UTC

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