Semantic Web

From Open Source Ecology
Jump to: navigation, search

Semantic Web

Semantics are about meaning: relationships of one thing to another.

The OSE Incentive Challenge will be a great test of how we can add meaning to content - as we will be working together. Can 1000 people design something together in real-time? Has this been done before for complex technical devopment?

Tim at TED


Two important technologies for developing the Semantic Web are already in place: eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and the Resource Description Framework (RDF). XML lets everyone create their own tags¿hidden labels such as or that annotate Web pages or sections of text on a page. Scripts, or programs, can make use of these tags in sophisticated ways, but the script writer has to know what the page writer uses each tag for. In short, XML allows users to add arbitrary structure to their documents but says nothing about what the structures mean.

The Semantic Web will enable machines to COMPREHEND semantic documents and data, not human speech and writings. Meaning is expressed by RDF, which encodes it in sets of triples, each triple being rather like the subject, verb and object of an elementary sentence. These triples can be written using XML tags. In RDF, a document makes assertions that particular things (people, Web pages or whatever) have properties (such as "is a sister of," "is the author of") with certain values (another person, another Web page). This structure turns out to be a natural way to describe the vast majority of the data processed by machines. Subject and object are each identified by a Universal Resource Identifier (URI), just as used in a link on a Web page. (URLs, Uniform Resource Locators, are the most common type of URI.) The verbs are also identified by URIs, which enables anyone to define a new concept, a new verb, just by defining a URI for it somewhere on the Web.


  • Wikipedia - [1]
  • Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web by Its Inventor.

Tim Berners-Lee, with Mark Fischetti. Harper San Francisco, 1999. An enhanced version of this article is on the Scientific American Web site, with additional material and links.

  • World Wide Web Consortium (W3C):
  • W3C Semantic Web Activity:
  • An introduction to ontologies:
  • Simple HTML Ontology Extensions Frequently Asked Questions (SHOE FAQ):
  • DARPA Agent Markup Language (DAML) home page: