Thoughts on the Semantic Web

Recently, as part of my work, I have been working on an installation of the VIVO Semantic Web application. As such, I have been investigating and trying to understand what exactly the Semantic Web is. And, for some reason, I find it very exciting.

The Semantic Web has been hailed as the successor to the current world wide web (“web”) as we know it. Currently, what exists is a “document web”, where information on pages is described through prose and images, and concepts are informally linked together through hyperlinks. This web has served us well for many years, and has enabled the sharing of information on an unprecedented scale. As it stands, however, the web is very hard for computers to understand (as computers can’t read very well). Thus, it is left up to humans to try to link all the disparate bits of knowledge available on the web together into whatever they are trying to find out. Wouldn’t it be great, though, if this could all be done in an automatic fashion?

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