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More On the Semantic Web (or: is RDF any good?)

From: Craig Pugsley <craig.pugsley@mimesweeper.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 12:09:02 -0000
Message-ID: <06B823D16FE8C14DB1F06CCBE6A6F3D25C3BA2@BELL.mimesweeper.com>
To: "'www-rdf-interest@w3.org'" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>, "'semantic-web@w3.org'" <semantic-web@w3.org>
It would appear that we could be in danger of allowing the term 'Semantic
Web' fall into the hands of the marketing people slightly sooner than we had
hoped. I suspect the majority of you who've had reservations over using the
term in the past feel that we could be running before we can walk. This is
true. We do need to be careful in our classifications of the technologies we
are developing.
I would like to cite a recent discussion I had with some colleagues at work.
I tried to present to them RDF using the angle of what the technology could
hold for developing a network of metadata (or a 'semantic web', if you
will). Although my presentation started as just that - a presentation - we
quickly lapsed into discussions about where RDF can and probably will go.
The opinion of some very experienced people - whom have seen the rise and
fall of previous 'killer technologies' - seemed to think that RDF <wouldn't>
be used for the purposes of describing web pages, etc. Rather, that it would
still be successful, but probably be employed in some other technology
probably totally unrelated to realising the 'semantic web' vision. Such as
the rise and fall of HTML, from its initial incarnation to the
presentational-emphasis language we have today.
As a student of the field, I'd consider my opinions and views fresh and
relatively untainted, and I tend to agree with my colleagues. RDF just seems
too complex to be adopted my the masses for the purpose it was intended. The
technology is so powerful, however, that it will almost certainly find a
purpose somewhere. 
If, however, we can limit the contact people have to have with raw RDF (or
even raw semantic modelling - to a certain extent) through well-designed,
user-friendly, powerful applications, then we can help stop the RDF drift
away from where it would do most good, and help realise the technology.

I realise that most of what I've said is contentious, so let's discuss!

CraigP
Research
Content Technologies


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Received on Monday, 6 November 2000 07:11:28 GMT

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