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Can New XML Technologies and the Semantic Web Deliver on Their Promises?

In Innovation, Linked Data, Technology on May 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Source: Petr Kratochovil http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

 

Read my complete post on The Scholarly Kitchen. Excerpt:           

There is active debate on the Web about the potential for Web 3.0 technologies and the standards that will be adopted to support them. Writing for O’Reilly Community, Kurt Cagle has remarked:           

My central problem with RDF is that it is a brilliant technology that tried to solve too big a problem too early on by establishing itself as a way of building “dynamic” ontologies. Most ontologies are ultimately dynamic, changing and shifting as the requirements for their use change, but at the same time such ontologies change relatively slowly over time.           

As of January 2009, when Cagle wrote this, RDF had failed to garner widespread support from the Web community — but it has gained significant traction during the past year, including incorporation in the Drupal 7 Core.             

The promise within this alphabet soup of technologies is that semantic Web standards will support the development of utilities that:           

  • Provide access to large repositories of information that would otherwise be unwieldy to search quickly
  • Surface relationships within complex data sets that would otherwise be obscured
  • Are highly transferable
  • Deliver democratized access to research information

But there are risks. Building sites that depend on semantic technologies and RDF XML can take longer and be more costly initially. In a stalled economy, long-term financial vision is harder to come by, but those with it may truly leapfrog. In addition, there are concerns about accuracy, authority, and security within these systems, ones the architects must address in order for them to reach the mainstream.         

… [O]ne may wonder whether this is an all-or-nothing proposition. Without speed and consistent delivery of reliable results, projects such as these may fail to meet user expectations and be dead in the water. On the flip side, if RDF XML and its successors can accomplish what they purport to, they will drive significant advances in research by providing the capacity to dynamically derive rich meaning from relationships as well as content.

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