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How & Why Linked Data will takes its place as Web 3.0 Driver

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Sat, 04 Apr 2009 13:34:45 -0400
Message-ID: <49D79A35.8090506@openlinksw.com>
CC: "public-lod@w3.org" <public-lod@w3.org>

Problem: How do we expose the Linked Data aspect of the Web in a manner 
consistent with the initial introduction of the Web?

Key points about the Document Web's success route:

1. Mosaic showed what was happening by rendering HTML markup from 
documents retrieved from servers using HTTP
2. Netscape upped the ante with media etc..
3. The process of browsing evolved to constitute looking at rendered 
HTML (presentation) and viewing the markup (representation) behind the 

People clicked and enjoyed seeing new pages, and they also has the 
option to view markup (which they may or may not have understood), some 
learned to write HTML via "View Source" others read books and attended 
courses etc..

Web took off!

My attempt at solving this conundrum goes as follows via ODE [1]:

1. Add "View Page Description" to the standard menu item collection
2. Add "View Linked Data Sources" to the standard menu collection.

When you do the above, Web users and developers can optionally explore 
the additional interaction dimensions that Linked Data accords:

1. Get a description of the Page you are viewing in various 
representations (starting with HTML with links in the footer to RDF 
based representations like N3, Turtle, RDF/XML etcc.)

2. Get the raw data (starting with an HTML based view using of the raw 
data as opposed to description of the page about the data, offer a 
variety of views for the raw data via tabs that expose different 

In our case, via ODE, you are routed to Virtuoso hosted RDFization 
Services (i.e. Sponger which does RDFization, Lookups, and Joins across 
LOD cloud).

Linked Data is not about some magical presentation, neither is it about 
some magic representation, it is about a magical middle layer that adds 
another interaction dimension to the Web. Basically, it's an additional 
option to the Web as we know it, and most important of all, it is optional.

Like the initial Web bootstrap, the uptake of Linked Data has zero to do 
with so called "Web Developers", it has 100% to do with the "opportunity 
cost" (none exploitation impact) becoming palpable.  Nobody used the Web 
(initially) because they groked HTML or HTTP, they used it because the 
opportunity cost of not doing became palpable.

Another example, the so called "Web 2.0". It crystallized because the 
opportunity cost of not blogging meant: non participation in the 
developing discourse on the Web (Usenet was dying at this point). Again, 
the key driver was opportunity cost palpability (everyone needed to get 
blogging if they wanted to join the discussion).

Now we are starting the so called "Web 3.0" phase, and what's going to 
trigger the uptake? Well, look at the newspaper industry (or old media 
in general), its rapid decline is just another example of an industry 
feeling the pain of no knowing what matters i.e., they possess deep and 
rich databases, but don't quite grok the fact that meshing their data 
with publicly available data via URIs into their own data spaces (i.e. 
their details meshed with public master data) is the only key to 
survival. In short, the medium of value exchange has shrunk, but the 
essence of their value (quality facts and context) hasn't gone anywhere 
-- they just need to know how to play properly with the Web platform.

Globally, as we work through the economic crisis, watch all the 
governments of the world eventually realize that they can become prime 
drivers of their local economy bootstraps by simply using open data 
access to deliver the vital transparency required for any long term 
return of confidence and trust. Basically, where we had the "citizen 
journalist" bootstrap Web 2.0, we will eventually have the "citizen 
analyst" bootstrap Web 3.0.

None of the above is achievable without Linked Data! And I haven't even 
got to the matter of Identity & Security yet :-)


1. http://ode.openlinksw.com  -- About ODE
2. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8062 -- Firefox 
Extensions (we have 900+ downloads and 3 reviews; would really like some 
feedback via reviews)



Kingsley Idehen          Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
President & CEO
OpenLink Software     Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Received on Saturday, 4 April 2009 17:35:23 UTC

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