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Re: [ANN] A pragmatic implementation of the Semantic Web

From: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2008 15:31:19 +0200
Message-ID: <1f2ed5cd0804140631n2379d6dcg2afb943b8f2d894c@mail.gmail.com>
To: "ALT Mobile DEV" <dev@altmobile.com>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org
On 08/04/2008, ALT Mobile DEV <dev@altmobile.com> wrote:
> [Zaid] It's a well known Ubuntu 7 incompatibility with Java. We've been
> shipping for Mac, XP, Vista, Red Hat, and Solaris for years... but Ubuntu
> and Suse are a bit new to use. Here's a link which talks about the problem
> https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/10270
> This has been solved for the most part by Ubuntu and Sun in most system
> configurations.

For the record - my Java's fine.

The docs on your site had a similar tone to your intro mail - "we've fixed
> these problems" - but there was little explanation of the perceived
> problems or fixes.
> [Zaid] the problem is that the W3C Semantic Web standards do not _today_
> provide the ability for users to make use of meta data that is relevant to
> them on normal web pages. The W3C SemWeb standards _today_ only prescribe
> a solution for publishers. WWW users are excluded from the meta data
> revolution unless a publisher spoon feeds them. That's why nobody trusts
> META element-defined meta data.

Web users are publishers (and vice versa) too. Where metadata has been
expressed in a reasonably clear fashion, it is available for consumer's use
(and that includes a lot more than <meta> elements). Semantic Web
technologies are about further enabling both the publisher and consumer in
how they can express and use data on the Web.

> http://java.sun.com/products/jfc/tsc/sightings/S15/Mobile/StudioScreenSnapz002.jpg

Looks like screen scraping to me. The publisher has unhelpfully hidden the
information in a table without any explicit semantics, leaving it up to the
user (perhaps aided by screen-scraping tools) to extract the information.

TimBL discusses these type of issues when he talks about the "Data Web" and
> Mashups.. where users access HTML elements rather than HTML documents.

Perhaps...but I think you'll find he generally advocates making the data
more explicit, so it's not left to screenscraping and/or human

There seemed to be a big emphasis on (HTML) document metadata, certainly an
> important part of semweb activities, but not the whole story, a lot of thematerial we're dealing with is plain old-fashioned data.
> [ZAID] Yes, and while the W3C SemWeb recent standards are focussed on
> XHTML, we are announcing that we think that we've solved the HTML meta
> data part. But to do so, we had to shun the W3C publisher-exclusive meta
> data approach and allow WWW users control of web data and meta data.
> That's why we call this: W3C vs WWW. The meta data standards for the last
> 10 years are about the publisher only. By including the user-centeredness
> of Web 2.0, we unify meta data support for all WWW users including
> readers, writers, and intermediaries including search engine vendors.

Which standards are you looking at? Ok, RDFa and to some extent GRDDL are
XHTML-related, but most of the relevant standards are more concerned with
the data model, not document formats:


In conclusion,  today --with some exceptions and software bugs-- any user
> can generate meta data for the Billion + web pages for their own benefit
> or for the benefit of upstream SemWeb apps.

Well yes, it's usually possible to extract some of the data embedded in
human-readable markup, but usually you have to make a lot of guesses about
the publisher's intent, and it can be very hard to automate.

Do you have an example of your tool supplying data to an upstream SemWeb
app? That would help your arguments considerably.

More truthfully though, doesn't just about every W3C SemWeb conversation end
> up with: "yeah, the SemWeb is going to dethrone Google with better ads and
> better search"?

Truthfully?  No. See what the W3C's director has to say:

There are people (myself included) who think an increase in the use of
semweb technology will lead to a marginalisation of statistical,
text-oriented pattern matching like that found currently in tools like those
of Google, but that's a long way from talk of dethroning them. Incidentally,
Google themselves have been showing some interest in semweb tech recently:

> We preserve what's in the web today and don't require those billions ofpages to be rewritten. So
> the W3C SemWeb prescribed implementation is more about changing WWW users
> and companies and not about supporting what's here today.

The Semantic Web is an *extension* of the current Web and not its
replacement. Islands of RDF and possibly related ontologies can be developed
incrementally. Major application areas (like Health Care and Life Sciences)
may choose to "locally" adopt Semantic Web technologies, and this can then
spread over the Web in general. In other words, one should not think in
terms of "rebuilding" the Web.

I suggest you take a look at those FAQs, you appear to be labouring under
several misapprehensions.


Received on Monday, 14 April 2008 13:31:54 UTC

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