Thursday, October 11, 2007

Semantic Web verses Web 2.0

Semantic Web

Web 2.0

Yesterday's entry was about Peter Patel-Schneider's talk about Knowledge Representation and Semantic Web. The Semantic Web and the Web 2.0 are two distinct approaches on how web technology should be in the future.

Definition of Semantic Web
  • According to W3C, "The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. It is a collaborative effort led by W3C with participation from a large number of researchers and industrial partners. It is based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF). "
  • Wikipedia defines Semantic Web as, " evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which web content can be expressed not only in natural language, but also in a format that can be read and used by software agents, thus permitting them to find, share and integrate information more easily.[1] It derives from W3C director Sir Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the Web as a universal medium for data, information, and knowledge exchange."
Definition of Web 2.0
O'Reilly defines Web 2.0 as the next generation of web technologies or methodologies. However, from the latest trends, web 2.0 seems to be web technologies which allow the user to directly interact with the web (mashups) and other members on the web (social networks). This shows the two distinct visions on how the web technologies evolve.
  • Semantic Web promises to provide intelligence data which will enable software to read and understand what the data is about. This inturn will allow software to understand what the user is looking for. Software will be able to use inference engines and other technologies to provide user with a wider variety of pertainent information on the internet. Semantic Web gives the power of decision to the software which works with the users.
  • Web 2.0 promises to provide technologies which will allow the user to make decisions on how he or she wants to access, discover and process the information on the internet. It is assumed that the user has to take initiative to look for information and Web 2.0 technologies will assist the user in finding the information. Unlike Semantic Web's vision, software is only a proxy for what user is looking for.
With these two distinct approachs, let's compare what are the benefits and drawbacks of these two approaches.
  • Semantic Web
    • Thin clients - Clients are not expected to store any information. Built-in Semantic Web language processors will simply read and interpret the data.
    • Not UI friendly
    • Governance is a big issue since Semantic Web lanuages have to be regulated
    • Potential Data discovery by the user since Semantic Web languages can show inferred information
    • Localization is a issue. I am wondering how RDF, RDFs and OWL will be work with languages which had distinct rule differences
  • Web 2.0
    • Thick clients - Clients have to process technologies like AJAX
    • UI Friendly - Look at Yahoo! Pipes, Google Maps
    • Potential bad information is created - If users create aggregated data via mashups, users can interpret the data incorrect.
    • Minimize privacy - With the assumption that social networks, blogs and other personal information on the web, the user's privacy is minimized. We need to make Web 2.0 more secure!
Like the topic of Browsing verses Searching, the optimal answer lies between Semantic Web and Web 2.0 technologies. Semantic Web and Web 2.0 can be used in a complimenting way and I believe this is will be the next wave of web technologies.

I put up a video for each approach. Each video is stylistic different and I chose these two videos since the two approaches are so different.

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