The Semantic Web
The Semantic Web is an extension of the Web through standards by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The standards promote common data formats and exchange protocols on the Web, most fundamentally the Resource Description Framework (RDF).
According to the W3C, "The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries". The term was coined by Tim Berners-Lee for a web of data that can be processed by machines. While its critics have questioned its feasibility, proponents argue that applications in industry, biology and human sciences research have already proven the validity of the original concept.
The 2001 Scientific American article by Berners-Lee, Hendler, and Lassila described an expected evolution of the existing Web to a Semantic Web. In 2006, Berners-Lee and colleagues stated that: "This simple idea…remains largely unrealized".
In 2013, more than four million Web domains contained Semantic Web markup.
From the Semantic Web to social machines: A research challenge for AI on the World Wide Web - ScienceDirect
The advent of social computing on the Web has led to a new generation of Web applications that are powerful and world-changing. However, we argue that we are just at the beginning of this age of "social machines" and that their continued evolution and growth requires the cooperation of Web and AI researchers.
In addition to the classic "Web of documents" W3C is helping to build a technology stack to support a "Web of data," the sort of data you find in databases. The ultimate goal of the Web of data is to enable computers to do more useful work and to develop systems that can support trusted interactions over the network.
Are you hearing the term "Semantic Web" as often as you may have in the past? There's no denying the importance of the technologies, standards, concepts, and collaborations that define the Semantic Web proper and all that is affiliated with it or grown out of it.
This post was prompted by this tweet from Tim O'Reilly ... People learning about Linked Data frequently ask "what's the relationship between Linked Data and the Semantic Web?", which is a fair and good question. One of the responses that crops up relatively frequently is that Linked Data is just an attempt to rebrand the Semantic Web.
Amit Sheth, LexisNexis Ohio Eminent Scholar at Wright State University and executive director of Kno.e.sis, has been walking the semantic web technologies talk for more than a decade. On his exciting and challenging journey toward more meaning in the man-machine collaboration (symbiosis as you will often read him calling it), Dr. Sheth wears several hats at a time.