Mathew Lowry

Suddenly everyone’s twittering about the semantic web. The announcement of UK30m to fund the Institute of Web Science, led by Professors Sir Tim Berners-Lee & Nigel Shadbolt, probably has something to do with it.

It’s been a long time coming – I met TB-L when he was in Brussels to drum up support for this back in 2006.

What I got back then was a revelation on the incredible opportunities the semantic web offers a wide range of EU policies and programmes. I’ve tried to get this across in the past, but I’ve always been massively stymied when trying to explain what it actually is.

The problem, as TB-L observed back then, is that while explaining the web to someone who’s never seen it is easy – you use metaphors from publishing, libraries, jukeboxes, TV … – the semantic web is something else entirely. There are no handy pre-Web metaphors.

At last, therefore, a nice and friendly video, via Mark Cahill’s Consult Mark blog:

[Free plug: if you’ll be in Ireland next Monday, there’s a “Semantic Web and what it can deliver for your business” training organised by the Irish Internet Association. A 20% discount for those going via Mark’s blog]

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It’s a cool little video, but I don’t really think it gets across the true potential of the SW – the examples used include mainly around better searches for music files.

But really getting at what the SW offers the EU, and humanity in general, would probably take more than 6 minutes. So definitely worth a look.

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