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What is Semantic Web?

From: Graham Klyne <GK@dial.pipex.com>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2000 15:11:13 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: RDF interest group <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>

>"Rather than gabble on about what I think Semantic Web might mean
>I'm pretty curious to hear what folk on this list understand by the
>phrase. As Edd points out, we could do with some more accessible
>materials in this area. "

OK, here's another two-pence worth...

The semantic web aims to do for information what the Internet and WWW have 
done for data.  Today, the Internet, and the WWW in particular, allow data 
to be exchanged between an arbitrary pair of systems, without regard for or 
discrimination among different system types, data content or the service to 
which the data relates.

Today, information tends to be bound up in the data format of the 
application for which it is designed.  Without the right application, the 
information content of data is inaccessible.  The semantic web will make 
the information content of exchanged data accessible to any application 
that understands semantic web protocols.

In other words, an "end-to-end architecture for content".


PS:  those who were at WWW9 may detect echoes of Lawrence Lessig's 
presentation.  I think the lack of discrimination between applications is a 
significant feature.

PPS:  this description pointedly avoids mention of "smart" or "intelligent" 
behaviours.  Though many of the ideas are based on AI research, I don't 
think intelligence is at issue.  I might paraphrase Clark's law:  "Any 
sufficiently complex behaviour is indistinguishable from intelligence".

Graham Klyne
Received on Monday, 6 November 2000 09:27:23 UTC

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