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Semantic Web

Celeste just posted an article about Tim Berners-Lee's Semantic Web. The article she cited got me thinking.

I'm just beginning to understand this "semantic web" concept. Let's see. The problem is that our web pages contain data. This data has meaning to use, but it's gibberish to computers. We need to mark this data with metadata describing it.

Say i want to search the Internet for a recipe with asparagus and steak. I can search for those terms but will i get a recipe with asparagus and steak or a page of text with the words recipe, asparagus, and steak in it?

Example. Assume a web page describes an Independence Day Fireworks show. This event has a date, location, and other attributes. However, i can't write a program that will search the web for dates and locations. I mean i can search on Washington DC, but i will get too much wrong information. It would be nice to write a program that automatically searches the Internet for events AND imports the interesting ones into my calendar.

This integration with applications can also be done for contact information like email, phone number, geographic location, tv schedule, weather, etc.

There are two places where i do see this.

One is called discovery in the blog world. If i want to trackback ping someone's article, i throw their URL into my form and my software will extract articles that can be commented on.

The other, also with blogs, entails discovering the friends of a blogger by searching their blog page for RDF and Friend of a Friend (FOAF). (There's another name for this that i can't find.) Here's a good article. See Listing 1.



Ah there it is: XFN thanks to XFN, the FOAF alternative.

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