When the semantic web takes off, it’ll be like databasing the internet – or encoding it. If it doesn’t take off, it’ll be only a matter of time.
Having said that, I remember being only coolly fired at a World Wide Web Consortium seminar on the topic a couple of years ago (the W3 Consortium is behind the initiative). The seminar was somewhat theoretical, and the topic seemed geared to the academic world. But its current manifestation seems to be proving some worth already in the commercial world, according to an article, Semantic Breakthrough in this month’s Oracle magazine.
It’s already happening, in more rudimentary form, with metadata in web pages. Web crawler technology makes it a reality. But complex metadata – particularly through XML – opens up a whole new world.
I started pondering variants on semantic encoding. Miscoded semantics: misinformation or disinformation. Coded - encrypted - semantics. And because it's an opt-in situation, whole swathes of the net will not be encoded at all. More on this to come.
The article mentioned Oracle making a direct application of "semantic technology" to grid computing. However, they didn't seem to demonstrate that they were doing anything more than leap on a bandwagon. It seems to be just a matter of resource discovery. Calling for thoughts - are they drawing a long bow to make the connection to the Semantic Web concept?