W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > April 2001

Is the Semantic Web a MetaWeb?

From: Benny Gustavsson <benny.gustavsson@mailbox.swipnet.se>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 23:04:52 +0200
Message-ID: <006101c0c45d$b3171190$7d1997d4@best>
To: <swi-dev@yahoogroups.com>
Cc: "Semantic Web" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Is the Semantic Web a MetaWeb? (or I'm I just confused) 

(If you are not into fuzzy discussions, please ignore this posting, and I apologize in advance. Sorry for the cross posting, don't know if this is the appropriate mailing list.but let's give it a try ;-)) 

I have seen a lot of prospect explanations on what the Semantic Web actually is, but none of them does answer the question in a way that I'm looking for. Of course, it is not an easy question to answer. But, as I'm only into theoretical datology, I'm looking for a simple answer to a difficult question that's right up my alley. 

I'm looking for an answer that is similar (in certain ways) to the answer of what the Web is. I answer the question of what the Web is with the answer: the URI-space. (Not if my dad ask, but in my head) The answer to the SW question I'm looking for is not to make it easier for a layperson to grasp the Semantic Web, it only to satisfy my own thoughts.

(Throughout, metadata is considered to be machine usable in the way the SW community so often speaks about.) 

Now to the "meta" part. If we attach metadata to a resource, it becomes in some sense easier for a machine to locate and use that resource (e.g. if the resource only contains natural language scribbling). Now, IMHO, the Semantic Web is a Web of metadata (+logic) that is intended to make it easier for machines (and us indirectly - but first and foremost) to locate and use resources on the Web. Thus, would it be wrong to call the Semantic Web a metaweb? The SW would then be a machine useable web (filled with machine understandable metadata pointing at web resources) about the web. Of course, the metaweb is also a web (just like metadata could be data), and they exist in the same space - though at different levels of abstractions. 

A bit simplified: humans use the web and machines use the metaweb (SW) to help humans use the web better. 

Thus, the Semantic Web is: a machine understandable metaweb. (the SW is only useful if layered on top of the web.) 

Just as metadata is attached to resources, the metaweb is attached to the web. Note, there is a few loopholes that I'm not getting into right now (to not take to much of your time), perhaps these will come up if this is further discussed. 

All this sounds a bit odd perhaps, but it makes it clear the machines will never understand resources written in natural languages, only the metadata attached to it. 

Thanks for your time! Happily accepts any comments! 

Benny Gustavsson
Received on Friday, 13 April 2001 17:07:10 UTC

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