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

From: Chris Beer <chris-beer@grapevine.net.au>
Date: Wed, 12 May 2010 22:14:33 +1000
Message-ID: <4BEA9BA9.9000703@grapevine.net.au>
To: David Pullinger <David.Pullinger@coi.gsi.gov.uk>
CC: rachel.flagg@gsa.gov, Adam Harvey <harvey@thedesignstate.com>, public-egov-ig@w3.org
True enough - the MS acquisition and push of FAST search certainly 
supports that. My own experiences atm in trying to get semantic and/or 
metadata driven or even Web 3.0 sites built in SharePoint by SP/.NET 
developrs supported directly by MS also supports this. In short it is 
becoming increasingly obvious that vendor lock-in is going to continue 
to remain a main barrier to effective uptake of even basic semantic / 
best practice web technology in information and service delivery at the 
enterprise/gov level.

To put it another way, I'm seeing situations where technology is driving 
business requirements and standards for government, not the other way 
around. The technology is dictating and often limiting what approaches 
can be taken - in short, "best value for money" is certainly not 
producting "best practice".

On the note the last step in David's checklist (d) could be considered 
unnecessary, the use of other means might hold true enough at the agency 
level, or even the government level, but I can't help but think it 
invariably breaks down in the greater broader picture - obviously if 
RDFa and/or XML/RDF are the way forward and best practice, then one 
would want everyone to use it. The clear conclusion to other options 
(excepting situations such as social identification which almost could 
be regarded as a separate if linked issue) is that we end up with a 
"Cola War" (Pepsi vs Coke for those not familiar with that term) between 
the best flavours of standards - and that's the last thing the current 
standards driven open and transparent e-Government needs.

I for one definately second David's call for common structures to be 
developed as a priority. I am happy to provide links, content and act as 
a contact/networking point at the Australian end in this regard, both to 
the Gov 2.0 community here but also the wider .gov.au metadata and 
standards communities. (I'm actually hoping AGIMO, our Information 
Management Office is lurking on this list and puts their hand up to be 
involved here. Or any other key lead Australian agencies for that matter 
:) )



On 11/05/2010 1:27 AM, David Pullinger wrote:
> 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:
>    1. publish one object per page, so that each has a URI
>    2. ensure that all descriptions are exposed to web search engines,
>       for example via an XML Sitemap, so findable and retrievable,
>    3. 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
>    4. 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.
> Regards,
> David
> David Pullinger
> david.pullinger@coi.gsi.gov.uk <mailto:david.pullinger@coi.gsi.gov.uk>
> 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 
> <http://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 
> <mailto: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
>> Thanks!
>> -Rachel
>> -------------------------------
>> 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
>> rachel.flagg@gsa.gov <mailto:rachel.flagg@gsa.gov>
>> www.webcontent.gov <http://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 
>> <mailto:info@pewinternet.org>>*
>> 05/04/2010 01:50 PM
>> Please respond to
>> info@pewinternet.org <mailto:info@pewinternet.org>
>> To
>> 	rachel.flagg@gsa.gov <mailto:rachel.flagg@gsa.gov>
>> cc
>> Subject
>> 	New Research Alert: The Fate of the Semantic Web
>> Having trouble viewing this email?
>> Click here to view this email as a webpage
>> http://campaign.constantcontact.com/render?v=001FD0CiKT5Djpymxg0jgqznVu10BdZAWBXtA5bcsRsVka7Bzdpv1uA_ss_AWjNuXe8Qq7DgQIt057H-Z6YWL-JLnbQErKaRMZQIXOKqiCkDLk%3D
>> 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
>> [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI1W_X0fg6gEJzS4l7bg5ReW6gzAi4dV1Pe1Vy7lZMislUBeF4T3Blm3RhEVjkMkjsWybFKCHVBc7UtQl7QcNFLxehYRpCmc_uWEir9GrAC4TUvCcib1GX7nBFib4xI23nDChap61FI5bA==] 
>> 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 
>> <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 
>> <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
>> [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103361950871&s=4634&e=001fwsSaGi8rI35NY1_2-OqjWKENbU801OJ6j2rRgy-8cw7Y8Zu6xk-P5Axd1n23lR8lb_SjRKsldmlFTv0Ev9NOu42vh1aRZvMKvBftXpuvpd-HD6Dk8rmPxJkoVFSOEb7igoDcNykUeNulkjayvAolBIxUKlaILHH]
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> 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://pewinternet.org/topics/Future-of-the-internet.aspx>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 Wednesday, 12 May 2010 12:14:57 UTC

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